Re: Platform of choice (very long) or, I Hate Holy Wars

Subject: Re: Platform of choice (very long) or, I Hate Holy Wars
From: Stephen Arrants <arrants -at- BRIGHTWARE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 11 Feb 1997 12:47:48 -0800

On Tuesday, February 11, 1997 12:07 PM, Mitch Berg[SMTP:mberg -at- IS -dot- COM]
> This has been explained better, and frequently, by others over the last
> five years. I'll offer up a capsule summary:
> 1) Microsoft had the advantage of a HUGE head start of its' own - MS-DOS
> helped kick off the microcomputer age, bringing a (clunky, inefficient,
> limited, badly scalable but acceptable) command-line OS to the desktop
> in the early eighties.

To be fair, Microsoft bought the rights to MS-DOS; it didn't itself
develop it. It did a superb job of marketing it, however.

> 2) MS-DOS became the de-facto DOS standard (anyone remember DR-DOS?),
> especially on the business desktop. Cheap, sort of reliable - and
> standard, so business IS managers ...

I think this was more due to IBM's imprimatur on MS-DOS. Businesses
buying computers back in the "olde dayes" bought IBM because "No one
ever got fired for buying IBM."

> 3) UNIX established itself as a niche OS, primarily for scientists and
> engineers.

Well, and for hobbyists, too, briefly.

> 4) Macintosh priced itself out of the competition as the preferred
> BUSINESS desktop standard.

Yes. And do you know what Microsoft used for documentation way back
when? Troff and nroff, at first, then we all moved over
to Macs with Microsoft Macword. It wasn't until after Word for Windows
was released that most of the groups moved over to
using Windows for documentation. (I'm speaking of the applications'
groups. Systems and Languages used Ventura for many documents.)

> 6) Microshaft introduces Windows - a blatant ripoff of the Mac GUI.

Well.....I beieve the courts decided that Microsoft had the right to do
this, based on the licensing agreements it had with Apple. And didn't
the MAC GUI come out of the XEROX PARC work? So who's "ripping off"

> 7) Apple declines to sue Bill Gates back to the Stone Age - mainly
> because of Gates' threat to stop developing applications for the Mac.
> Windows is allowed to establish itself.

Actually, they did sue Microsoft after it released Windows386 and
Windows 3.x. The entire legal battle was very interesting, and the
decisions are still affecting the entire industry.

> 9) Windows is able to dominate the home market because:
> a) most applications are written for Windows
> b) Windows, thru economy of scale, is cheaper
> c) Since everyone uses Windows at work, might as well have it at
> home...

I think (c) is the most important point. I have both a Mac and a Pentium
at home. I prefer to use the Mac for graphic design work,
though more and more is being done in Windows. Even Photoshop and
Illustrator, applications that are identified with the Mac, are very
spiffy in Windows. Software such as 3D Studio MAX, and AutoCAD are now
as good under Windows as they are under UNIX. I *LIKE* my Mac, but I
can see that in the future I won't be using it as much as I used to...

> ActiveX might be an achilles heel for MS - as the
> industry moves (with Java) toward interchangeability, ActiveX's
> limitations (compared to Java) don't look so good.

I tend to agree, but I think JAVA has had too much of a gushing good
press. I've tried to write Java apps. for both our Wintel and Sun
environments.....not much luck. The much admired interchangeability
ain't there yet.....

> No, they didn't. To "lose" the market, you must first "have" it. IBM,
> Apple and NeXT never "had" it, they made unsuccessful tries to get it.
> Sun has never been a player in the OS market.

I think they made the mistake of trying to make money on hardware,
instead of software. One big debate is whether Apple would've been more
successful and in a better position that Microsoft if it had licensed
the MAC OS for Intel machines. Would we be using a MAC OS with
Microsoft, and Lotus, and Word Perfect....? Would Windows have been a
footnote, an interesting, though not too successful try by Microsoft to
enter the OS market?

And what's going to happen to Apple now? It seems that every few days
we hear more bad news. More layoffs, more reorganization. Motorola and
IBM no longer going to produce PowerPC chips. Microsoft declining to
port Windows NT to the Mac.

> Microsoft has taken advantage of IS industry conservatism and marketing
> success to dominate a market, even though their products, objectively,
> DO lag badly in technological terms (and horribly in usability and human
> factors aspects!)

I really disagree with the last part of your sentence. What evidence do
you have that Microsoft products "lag bacly in technological terms (and
horribly in usability and human factors aspects!)"? I mean, what hard
evidence? What are you comparing to what?

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