cat Xerox | Apple | Microsoft ?

From: Doug Yowza <>
Date: Thu May 21 22:44:43 1998

On Thu, 21 May 1998, Kai Kaltenbach wrote:

> Sure the DOS license was a big initial push, but to say it was solely
> responsible for the success of Microsoft is like saying the Model T is
> responsible for Ford having the best selling vehicle in America today.

If Ford had been able to force every driver to make a big investment in
their vehicle and cause them to fear to lose that investment by buying
faster, better, cheaper cars, then the analogy would be fair.

> Microsoft was a development products company, not an OS company. When I got
> here in 1988, I remember seeing a revenue pie chart at the company meeting.
> We were at around 60-70% revenue from development products like C++ &

Borland was another case in which their technology was clearly superior to
Microsoft's, but Microsoft was able to leverage their monopoly to push
inferior technology. I don't think there's any question that the tight
coupling between the Windows 3.0 API, the Windows SDK, and Microsoft's
tools marked the beginning of the end of Borland. And as somebody who
came on board in 1988, I'm sure you remember how painful it was to use
Microsoft tools compared to Borland's at that point.

Microsoft's API monopoly allowed them to make mistakes and inferior
products and not only survice, but flourish. This was an unprecedented
advantage over ever other competitor, and continues to be so to this day.

> Our first, all time most successful Windows app, Excel, that nuked the Lotus
> 1-2-3 monopoly through ease of use and customer demand alone, was _ported
> from the Macintosh_. How exactly could we have leveraged our ownership of
> Windows to make Excel successful when it wasn't even written for Windows?

If Microsoft had to compete on an even playing field, I think they would
have been a good match for Lotus, and they probably would have put Word
Perfect to bed as well. But Borland? Geoworks? Novel? Netscape? Sun?
Next? Apple? Amiga? I think we would all have much better software and
operating environments today if Microsoft had to compete soley on
technical merit.

> If IBM endorsing & bundling an OS makes it a monopoly, why is OS/2 dead?

Too little, too late. IBM, famous for tying customers to proprietary
systems, gave away both the PC architecure and the O/S platform.

Why do you think Microsoft is fighting so hard for the rights to give away
a browser? Because the internet is an API that they don't yet own. If
they own the browser market, they own the "API" (HTML, HTTP, etc.), and
eventually they'll own the internet. I, for one, don't like that idea.

Of course, I put all of my disposable income into Microsoft stock, because
the strategy is *so* damn good. I love them as an investment, but I don't
like the way they grab power, and most of the time, I don't like what they
do with the power once they have it.

If Microsoft did the right thing just half of the time, I wouldn't have to
use Linux when I want real performance and productivity.

-- Doug
Received on Thu May 21 1998 - 22:44:43 BST

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