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Microsoft is dead. Long live… Microsoft? 21 September 2007, Friday

Posted by J. in Uncategorized.

Paul Graham writes a convincing essay regarding how Microsoft bungled their lead. He addresses the (admittedly well-known) influence of the ‘Net as well as other “emerging” technologies such as Ajax and… bum da bum… Mac OS X. I think that parts of it is old hat, parts are tripe or fanboism, but on the whole, I like where he went with it.

Microsoft’s biggest weakness is that they still don’t realize how much they suck.” This line sums up pretty much what I think is the point of the piece and really is the hubris that lay the giant low. For as much as they talk the talk about recognizing their mistakes and giving people what they want, between Vista and the new Office 2007, I see the opposite happening instead.

To be honest, there are two things worse than not doing any user research:

  1. Doing incorrect user research and concluding that it will be THE MESSIAHTM to give people either what they don’t want or need and not giving them what they do want or need.
  2. Screwing over your indie developers for apparently no reason at all.* (By the way, is it just me, or does this remind me of the PS3 fiasco? Another giant, if I may be so bold as to suggest…)

Rome, China, … Microsoft and the US?

Of course, to me, what the most interesting (and thought-provoking) aspect is, however, is when the reigning king**, Google, is going to go the same way as Microsoft.

Scary thing is, JP suggests that it may already have started.***

I’m inclined to agree.

It seems that while some things seem to have inexorable progress and growth, sort of like a “boom gene“, there’s always a terminus; it’s just that at any given particular point in time, we don’t have, as a collective, the perspective to anticipate, or, sadly, predict its boundary conditions or driving and retarding motivators with any regularity (Moore’s Law, anyone?).

I wonder whether the sort of theoretical acceleration that we gained with the rapid information dissemination of today’s information society works in a way to also speed up boom-and-bust trends. (Again, viz. China and Rome vs. the US in terms of the “evil-will-eventually-eat-itself” philosophy.)

Of course, that’s assuming that by ‘information‘ we mean ‘communication‘…

* You have to admit that the functionality to view the size of a folder in a list view is… um… useful, to say the least. You must then admit that Apple’s OS has been able to do this since 1996 if not earlier, and that while there was a third-party hack to enable the functionality in XP, the mind-blowing stupidity of removing such an API in Vista is incomprehensibly boneheaded.

** As an exercise to the reader, may I present another reigning king, Exhibit A: Adobe. ‘Nuff said.

*** The thought that the “company that does no evil” should succumb to the perpetual consequence of being evil seems like an impossibility, but it does make one contemplate the meaning of “evil”.



1. bleu - 22 September 2007, Saturday

I believe JP was also the one who was willing to give da firstborn, over to GOOG.

2. J. - 22 September 2007, Saturday

yeah well rumplestiltskin and all that jazz AMIRITE!!!!!

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