!Re: Nuke Redmond!

From: Richard Erlacher <edick_at_idcomm.com>
Date: Thu Apr 6 15:00:23 2000

please see embedded comments below


----- Original Message -----
From: Zane H. Healy <healyzh_at_aracnet.com>
To: <classiccmp_at_classiccmp.org>
Sent: Thursday, April 06, 2000 12:59 PM
Subject: Re: !Re: Nuke Redmond!

> >> >If it weren't for the low prices resulting from the economy of scale,
> >scale
> >> >which is enabled by the fact that Microsoft made computers simple
> >to
> >> >use that the masses could and would use them.
> >>
> >There were plenty of other players on the scene. Just look at DEC. They
> >wanted to make computers more costly, less convenient, less accessible.
> >It's justice that they're history! They weren't alone in this and I
> >some of the others, notably IBM, to go away eventually as well, though
> >probably not as kindly as DEC went. They, at least, are working on
> >new technology to the market, rather than repainting the old stuff and
> >trumpeting that the new color made it new technology.
> OK, I can no longer resist commenting on this. WHERE IS MICROSOFT'S
Isn't the approach they've taken, making their products more available by
pricing them low, innovation enough? DEC commonly charged $100 per word for
their code. IBM made you buy the software and then leased you one buggy
release after another until you learned to live with their bugs.
> Let's look at some of their programs through the years.
> Basically a port of DEC BASIC
I only saw DEC's basic once, and saw no similarity other than the
superficial similarities imposed by the standard language. I'd expect most
BASIC to look pretty much the same, however, since neither DEC nor MS
defined the language.
> They bought a clone of CP/M
I used CP/M every day for about six years. When I saw my first MS-DOS, I
noted that the console command for a file list was 'DIR' and 'TYPE' and
that's where the similarity ended. The file system architecture and
associated function set was totally different from CP/M's, and the console
commands were different. What they had in common beyond 'DIR' was that they
responded to keyboard commands just like ALL other OS'. CP/M used PIP
rather than Copy. Are you now going to say they swiped that from OS-8? I
just can't convince my self that there's much in common between MSDOS and
> MS Windows:
> Mac OS
> MS Windows NT:
> OS/2 and VMS (OK, so they did help develop this, but OS/2 was trash until
> IBM took it over. Of course IBM blew it big time with OS/2.)
> MS Windows 95:
> Mac OS and NeXTstep (OK, the "System Properties" in the "Control Panels"
> the one mildly cool thing about this. I don't know if there is prior art
> of any type for this.).
The one thing I see them having copied from the MAC is the reputation for
routine crashes. I'm not sure it's warranted. In fact, I'm not sure it's
warranted in the case of the MAC. I can remember a number of instances,
though, where a whole pool of MAC's were dead every morning while the PC's,
which were powered off at night, unlike the MAC's, were immediately at work,
once powered up.
> MS Explorer:
> Netscape (I won't even credit them with having looked at Mosaic)
I don't think anyone denies that both IE and Netscape were based, at least
in part, on the work done in NCSA MOSAIC, particularly v2.0. I still have
this program, by the way, and find it quite different from both IE and
Netscape in its look and feel. Naturally the feature sets for the modern
software is more complete.
> MS Window 98:
> Bug fixes for '95 and bundled MS Explorer
> MS Windows 2000:
> Technologies bought from everywhere, just how much of OpenVMS have they
> licensed/bought for this? I actually want to give it a try, but haven't
> had the chance.
> MS Word:
> Various word processors
> MS Excel:
> Various spreadsheets
> MS PowerPoint:
> Harvard Graphics
> MS Foxpro (is this still around):
> They bought it
> MS Access (isn't this the one that was a failed communications product):
> ?
> MS Access (the DB):
> Various Databases, it's got a rep for loosing data last I heard.
> MSASM, MS Fortran, MS C, etc.:
> Ports of existing stuff
> MS Visual BASIC:
> Now this one has bothered me for several years, did they buy the
> technology or copy something that already existed. I've a strange feeling
> that this one was actual innovation!
> There is other stuff, but I think that paints a fairly accurate picture of
> their innovation!
I think this shows their mode of operation isn't too different from what
anyone else would do. They just make a bigger splash when the succeed, and
are a little better at sweeping their failures under the carpet. They
improved on almost everything they "copied" or bought, and brought it to
market. The fact that WORD, EXCEL, ACCESS, etc, after 10 years of
competitors' chipping away at them speaks for itself. Even the
BS-generator (POWERPOINT) is pretty amazing. The fact that some of their
practices have come into question indicates they're not too different from
other companies.

The fact that they don't do the equivalent of discovering a new planet every
year is certainly no indictment. The fact that their inability to pull a
rabbit out of the hat every time indicates they're pretty successful and
have fallen victim to the high expectations based on their high success
rate. I note that it's easy to complain they lack something, but finding a
positive construct, i.e. someone else who's done better, is not as easy.
> Basically their innovation is in copying existing stuff, repackaging it,
> and tricking people into thinking they've just come up with something new.
They're not alone in their effort to repackage unsuccessful software after
making it work. The innovation is making it work. Not all their efforts
have been successful. You've cited one. I imagine they put their learning
from FoxPro, etc, to work in Access, though.
> Zane
> | Zane H. Healy | UNIX Systems Adminstrator |
> | healyzh_at_aracnet.com (primary) | Linux Enthusiast |
> | healyzh_at_holonet.net (alternate) | Classic Computer Collector |
> +----------------------------------+----------------------------+
> | Empire of the Petal Throne and Traveller Role Playing, |
> | and Zane's Computer Museum. |
> | http://www.aracnet.com/~healyzh/ |
Received on Thu Apr 06 2000 - 15:00:23 BST

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