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Thread: Microsoft (Decline Of)

Author Image Gerry Patterson. The world's most humble blogger
I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones -- Albert Einstein, 1948

Clash Of The Titans (2)- The Decline of Microsoft

Chronogical Blog Entries:

Date: Tue, 05 Feb 2008 22:42:10 +1100

I have already received some feedback on the Microsoft blog. Earlier today, this arrived from Sydney Webmaster, websurfer, programmer and Google-watcher, Brian Robson. It is a timeline that he has imaginatively extended into the future. Brian writes:

I like your open source points. Their hostility to open source is a big problem for them as you say. In the old days everyone happily tested Windows for them etc etc - these people are now building the open source movement, and there is no turning back. M$ cannot return to the old days where everyone supported M$ because it standardised things, and made life easier with DOS and Windows 3.1. I still remember being conned by the line "It's not a proper operating system if it does not launch with a GUI." (like Windows 95 did, windows 3.1 was thus inferior somehow. Current problem is the poor stuff written by journalists in PC magazines.

So we would have, a timeline in decades for M$:
1975-1984 The invention of the integrated circuit. The beginning of home computing. The beginnings of the desktop PC. Hard drives too expensive, but dozens of formats for floppy disks and hundreds of manufacturers of PCs. Everything very expensive, but simply amazing to have a real computer at home. The advent of M$ and the DOS era, and the beginnings of standardisation for PCs with the release of the first IBM PCs. Most PC manufacturers amalgamate or perish.
1985-1994 The Apple Mac, the IBM AT and standardisation of the "IBM PC". The era peaks with Windows 3.11 in 1992. The dBase era ends, replaced by Microsoft Access. The WordStar era ends replaced by Word. The Lotus 123 era ends, replaced by Excel. Microsoft destroys DR-DOS but denies this. Office 4 and Word 6 is more than enough for most people. Microsoft builds a desktop monopoly. I buy a computer in 1988 for $3800 including a colour monitor and a 20MB hard drive. Bulletin board systems and elementary message sending for computer enthusiasts until the public Internet arrives.
1995-2004 Everyone changes to 32 bit computing. Enthusiasts queue up at midnight to buy Windows 95 on the launch day. Microsoft entrenches its position on the desktop and everyone has to buy upgrades for Windows 95 then Windows 98 then Windows XP. Further maturity in office suites with Office 97 and Office 2000 and Office 2003. Beginnings of the Internet, with really difficult to use web sites and poor search and huge graphics and wacky navigation. Microsoft makes Internet Explorer the top browser by bolting it into Windows and giving it away with Windows so that Netscape is strangled. Upgrading is forced on users because many programs will not run correctly on earlier versions of Windows for trivial reasons. USB arrives, but is not generally available for Windows 95, forcing massive upgrades to Windows 98 and beyond.
2005-2014 The juggernaut starts to falter. Windows Vista is barely better than Windows XP and has more frills than people need. Users annoyed with the M$ collusion with the movie industry and the record industry. Users become heartily sick of spam, spyware and Internet criminals. Firefox provides serious competition for IE, especially in Europe. The Internet improves immensely and the desktop matters less. HiFi and electronics shops are full of portable gadgets, and everything connects to everything with either Ethernet or USB. Sales are enormous, but profits are quite low as a percentage, rather like supermarkets. Microsoft discontinues support for older operating systems including Windows 95 and Windows 98. Commercial software producers hop on the bandwagon and modify their software so it will not run on out-of-date operating systems. Microsoft is increasingly left behind by new startups and new technologies, and especially problematic is open source software which is slowly replacing closed source software in corporations and government. In a last ditch effort to monopolise the Internet, M$ buys the huge Internet company Yahoo, but during the merger, the rival search engine Google poaches all the top developers. However buying Yahoo is too little too late and over a five year period the acquisition makes little difference and becomes essentially worthless. Huge on-line advertising revenue goes instead to the main search engine Google and to niche players and to new startups and to companies that previously were dominant in magazines and newspapers. Well documented cases emerge in the third world where Microsoft is selling software very cheaply to lock in buyers to expensive upgrades later. Some instances involve huge corruption by government officials. The next upgrade to Windows, code named Custer, is rejected by the market place, who somehow see Microsoft as out of touch or not the latest fashion, despite their huge investment in research and development. Computer clubs no longer exist, computer fairs are not viable, and home computer magazines disappear, replaced by lifestyle magazines about electronic gadgets covering sound, movies, music, networking, home entertainment and computing. Microsoft share price slowly slides, but Bill, Steve and Paul have already cashed in.
2015-2024 Packaged software industry collapses. Adobe is replaced by free software. Anti virus software is no longer needed on PCs. Strict laws put spammers and net criminals in jail worldwide. Most word processing and spreadsheet work is done via the net and the file format is an open standard, and actually does not matter to the user. Microsoft tries desperately to embrace open source, but the open source movement publicly rejects them for all their past secrecy and animosity. The decline of Microsoft. Share price tumbles further. Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer now both retired. Company makes major strategic mistakes. Consulting companies that support and endorse only the Windows platform are no longer viable. Desktop no longer matters. All hotel and motel rooms and most cafes have wireless Internet provided for free. Software patents no longer available in the USA, they are not in the public interest and most ideas are obvious anyway. It's better to manufacture it quickly than tell everybody by lodging a patent. Virtually all gadgets now surf the net without help from Microsoft, they play music, take photos, schedule meetings, pay bills, send text messages etc etc. Several large companies and governments formally refuse to deal with Microsoft. High speed wireless networking is everywhere in developed countries, and is free just like having lighting in a cafe is free.

I should add that Brian accurately forecast that the Y2K bug would turn out to be humbug. He also predicted the Decline of Telstra Sensis, and various portals and 2nd order search engines.

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Copyright     2008, Gerry Patterson. All Rights Reserved.