Rate the State of Microsoft!

By  |  Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 4:30 pm

T-PollFor today’s T-Poll I’m going to ask you to play Microsoft pundit. (Don’t worry, it’s easy–or at least it’s easy to be just as accurate as the folks who get paid big bucks to do it.)

The case could be made that Microsoft is on a roll and doing some good stuff these days. Bing has gotten positive reviews and seems to be off to a reasonably strong start in the market. The company finally has the Yahoo deal it’s craved for eons. I haven’t encountered anyone who’s used Windows 7 who doesn’t think it’s a major improvement over Windows Vista. Whether or not the  Zune HD gives the iPod Touch a run for its money, it looks to be an impressive piece of hardware. And most news about the Xbox continues to be upbeat.

But then again, the cash cow that is Windows is showing serious signs of vulnerability for the the first time ever. The company still seems timid when it comes to embracing the idea of Web-based applications (a true Web version of Office won’t debut until 2010, years after Google Docs).  In the iPhone era, Windows Mobile still feels like a Model T that Microsoft is trying to spruce up with better tires and a paint job. Insert your own additional negative thoughts about the Behemoth of Redmond here.

Okay, poll time:


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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Barnes Says:

    IBM in 1960 and IBM in 2060.
    IBM rules. Sad to say.

  2. JackAZ Says:

    Microsoft will continue to do about the same only because the lemmings will continue to flock to the fountain of Gates/Balmer regardless of quality, performance, usability, or any other factor.

  3. Mike Cerm Says:

    As long as Windows continues to be the best, easiest to use operating system, which gives users the best choice of what hardware and software they can run, it will continue to dominate. Macs are still locked down, too expensive for most people, and provide very few benefits for the added cost. Linux still isn’t ready for the mainstream, except for very limited uses. It’s nice on smartphones (WebOS, Android), OK on netbooks, i.e. fine for browsing the web, but not a suitable replacement for Windows.

    The Xbox 360 is simply the best console of this generation. It’s the cheapest, has the best selection of games, and the best media features (Media Center, Netflix). Xbox Live is unmatched. It also continues to improve, with new features like Twitter, Facebook, and Zune integreation coming in the fall. Even now that they’ve fixed the hardware failure issues, it’s still not a perfect system, but it’s the best there is.

    The new Zune looks awesome, and gives me a lot of confidence that they’ll get their crap together with Windows Mobile. WinMo 6.5 isn’t going to cut it, but if 7 takes some cues from the Zune, it could be a credible alternative to iPhone and WebOS.

    Don’t worry about Office. Sure, it won’t always be the cash-cow it was in the past. It’s still much better than the competition (is OpenOffice still being developed?), and the online alternatives (Google, Zoho) aren’t ready for serious work the way Word and Excel are. By the time users are really ready to turn to online suites, I’m sure that Office Live will be ready to go.

    According to all the ad dollars and the Yahoo deal, Microsoft takes Bing pretty seriously. It’s not a Google-killer, but the campaign is working so far, and it seems like Bing is attracting some users. It’s a work in progress, and destined to be number two. Not too bad.

    Microsoft has a lot of really good stuff going on (Windows 7, Xbox, Zune), and some stuff that isn’t so great, but they’re working on it (Windows Mobile, Bing). Sure, they are some areas where they’re mostly coasting (Hotmail, IE). Obviously, they can’t do everything right, but on the whole, I think we’re seeing some pretty decent signs of life from such a mature company.

  4. Josh Says:

    @Mike Cerm: Easy there Mike. I don’t think anyone outside of Microsoft would consider Windows the “best, easiest to use operating system.” That’s a bunch of nonsense, especially considering that such a statement is wholly objective.

    And, as for hardware support, I agree that Linux isn’t suitable as a full-time OS for most people, but Linux supports far more hardware than Windows ever has. Windows does, however, support more commercial software than any other platform, but that isn’t a testament to excellence but rather a testament to its market penetration.

    If anything, Windows is just adequate. Windows benefits from its history as a monopoly in the marketplace to maintain its market share.

  5. Mike Cerm Says:

    @Josh: So, Windows isn’t the best, yet Linux isn’t suitable as a full-time OS for most people. Is there an alternative that I left out? No, there isn’t. Since Apple refuses to compete directly (i.e. make OSX hardware-independent), Windows IS the best option for most people, and will continue to dominate the market for the foreseeable future.

    I’m not a perfect grammarian, and I may have put a comma in the wrong place. I meant that, of operating systems that support a wide selection of hardware and software, Windows is the best. I never said it was good, or even better than adequate. I was merely implying it’s a better OS for most people than Linux or, given the expensive and limited hardware selection, OSX.

    A $300 Windows PC would be adequate for most people. A $300 Linux PC would not sit well with most people. iMacs start at $1200. That’s why Windows is the best.

  6. Josh Says:

    @Mike: Apple competes, but it isn’t a bottom-feeder. Most PC manufacturers go after the customers who are interested in the cheapest possible machines. That’s fine. We need cheap machines and there are a lot of people looking for a good deal.

    Apple knows they can’t compete there, so they chooses to build high quality, shiny machines with good support and an integrated software stack. With Macs, value isn’t measured in dollars but in customer satisfaction. Apple simply doesn’t make a cheap Mac.

    I see your point though. You’re saying that Windows is the best option for most consumers. I agree with that because, unfortunately, it is the ONLY option for budget-conscious consumers. This is largely due to Microsoft’s illegal market manipulation during the rise of the PC. If they hadn’t lied, cheated, and stolen so many times, maybe there would be additional choices. Now you, as a consumer, are paying the price: you get a subpar OS on crappy flimsy hardware all because Microsoft used its influence with IBM to refuse anyone else access to the growing market. We are only now beginning to see light through the cracks in Microsoft’s monopoly, but we are far from having a thriving market of PC manufactureres with the ability to provide alternate operating systems.