Why We Won't Need Microsoft Much Longer
Microsoft are increasingly running afoul of court rulings against their operating practices. It seems that Bill Gates' organisation is undergoing enormous scrutiny and, quite often, failing to meet the expectations of local legislators (with recent rulings in both Europe
and the US providing evidence of this). In our last article, I suggested that Microsoft's dominance may be coming to an abrupt end and that we may be witnessing the death throes of a corporate giant. Here's why:OpenSource
For those who haven't yet come across it, OpenSource
is a growing trend through which talented individuals come together and develop (or even redevelop) a product for public distribution. OpenSource
programs are usually free and easily downloadable
. They are also maintained with regular updates through the OpenSource
community that created them.
Products such as Linux and OpenOffice
are an increasingly viable alternative to Microsoft Products and, in the Vista era where the usability of the Windows product hit an all time low, they found their market (indeed, Dell even began circulating new laptops with the Ubuntu
version of Linux pre
-installed as opposed to the widely reviled Vista platform).OpenSource
functionality can be more limited that that of Microsoft but is certainly adequate
for basic office administration. To this extent, it can be ideal for Small to Medium (and particularly Charitable) ventures that have limited finances to invest in their software solutions.Google
Microsoft have developed a near-rabid obsession with Google's
online dominance. The rise of Google has very nearly destroyed other search engines (back at the turn of the century, there were plenty and most were hit or miss whether you'd find what you wanted). Microsoft have (rightly) determined that Google is a threat and are eager to reassert themselves in the online market.
However, Google are working on their own forays into the software market and, while Microsoft have managed to produce the Bing search engine, Google are supporting a range of other business services through GoogleApps
is becoming far more common and Microsoft's hotmail
scheme). Although Bing seems to be a lot better than previous attempts, Microsoft just can't seem to get themselves back into the race.Reputation
Let's face it, Vista was an appalling operating system and Microsoft's abandonment of it (evidenced by the extension of XP
and bringing forward the launch of Windows 7) proved that point. Microsoft's reputation was indisputably tarnished - they had lost touch with users' needs.
Personally, I view the launch of Bing with a level of suspicion, thanks to Vista. I just don't trust Microsoft the way I used to. Yes, older platforms (link Windows ME) were buggy and annoying but they were never outright unusable - even Office 2007 messed up the toolbars to the point that users couldn't find anything. Unless Windows 7 is something special (far more accessible and usable), it's hard to see Microsoft recovering the consumer confidence that they once had.
Personally, I feel we owe Microsoft a great deal. It was the Windows platform that slowly began to encourage us to get PCs for our home. They made all of the work that much easier and more accessible. However, it just feels like their operating practices are increasingly archaic: I feel like I can almost compare them to an old Soviet manufacturer - they once made usable (although not always great) products that dominated the market without competition and now, with the dawn of an open market, they are struggling to understand both their place and that users now have a freedom of choice that allows them access to a range of quality and affordable products - we just won't need that expensive, archaic giant much longer.Posted: 2009-09-09