Re: FrameMaker: "obvious choice" redux

Subject: Re: FrameMaker: "obvious choice" redux
From: Ray Bruman <rbruman -at- RND -dot- RAYNET -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Jan 1995 13:02:31 PST

"Patrick O'Connell" <patricko -at- EICON -dot- COM> wrote the parts marked with > :

> It's a Microsoftian paradox: Frame's the only game in town / no competition
> when it comes to long technical documents. Well, almost, but given what I've
> heard about Interleaf I'm going to steer well clear of it whenever possible.

I think Steve Fouts made a good case for Interleaf, with the premise that
every shop analyze its needs carefully, if you are allowed to.

> It behooves Frame Technology to recognize that they have a monopoly of
> sorts, and to be benevolently, rather than tyrannically, monopolistic. I'm
> hoping they were watching what happened to Intel with the whole Pentium FPU
> bug thing.

That's an interesting example. Intel's financial reports a few days ago
revealed wonderful revenues from Pentium, outstripping even their optimistic
projections, and despite putting $186,000,000 (? from memory) aside to upgrade
outraged customers. The tyrannical monopolist is doing fabulously, thank you.

Another monopolist closer to the topic is featured in today's New York Times
(Jan 20 page C1) as "The Wrath over Microsoft's Word" by John Markoff.
In the Macintosh word processing market, Word has 64.9%, Wordperfect 31.1%,
and all others *combined* have 4%. But reviewers have panned 6.0 and users
are switching to the tiny competitors. Among other reasons,

Word 6.0 Word 5.1

Startup time on Centris 610 7 minutes! 2+ minutes
Fully installed disk space 25 Meg 6 Meg
Long word count 5min 48 sec 33 sec

"One California-based company whose work force uses more than
2,000 Macintoshes agreed in late 1993 to buy rights to use
Word 6.0, based on demonstrations of a prototype version.
The attractive new features included an electronic
bookmark feature that lets users quickly navigate through a
long document.

But 15 months later, the company still has not begun to use
the program. "As soon as we got it, we installed it on our
server, but two weeks later the president of our company
ordered us to take it off," said one of the company's computer
managers, who spoke on the condition that neither he nor his
company be identified."

These problems may not apply to you: the Mac is only 8% of
Microsoft Word's market, and the Windows version is not drawing
this flak. Eventually problems like this can sink a product
despite its overwhelming dominance (remember Wordstar?) but the
process can take years (remember Wordstar?).

I think a Macintosh-based company that truly sees a debatable
choice between Word and Frame should look very closely at this
particular 5.1/6.0 problem, especially if they will be exchanging
files between Mac and Windows. Frame for Windows is a dog, by
many accounts, and Word 6 for Mac is a dog, by many accounts.

Not an easy decision, but hey, what else are we paying people
management salaries for?

Ray Bruman In this establishment,
Raynet Corp. we DO NOT DISCUSS
rbruman -at- raynet -dot- com race, religion, politics,
415-688-2325 or nutrition.

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