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Thread: Microsoft (Decline Of)

Author Image Gerry Patterson. The world's most humble blogger
If at first you do not succeed ... You must be a programmer!

Windows XP - Back To The Future

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Date: Fri, 16 Apr 2010 00:34:33 +1000

Your humble blogger has just returned from a holiday in New Zealand. There are many things in New Zealand ... Lots of magnificent scenery and lots of XP computers.

First of all if you are going to New Zealand, you might want to avoid the money changers at the airports. They offer poor deals on exchange rates. As usual, American Express give their customers a reasonable deal (which is probably why retailers whinge about them so much). Failing that look for ATMs that will connect with an Aussie bank ... Many of them do ... ... But they slug you a hefty fee for the service.

Apart from taking photographs with a digital camera, your humble blogger had very little contact with computing technology. On a few occasions your blogger used computers in motels or lodges ... And all of them were using services provided by Cybercom Global.

Cybercom global specialise in providing Internet services to hotels, backpackers and airports and they seem to have a significant presence in New Zealand. Many of their computers exhibited odd behaviour in regard to USB devices (sometimes complaining about "Missing device drivers").

And all of the computers were running XP!

The occasional strange USB behaviour would have been within the expectations of your average Microsoftie, most of whom are suffering from frill fatigue and a total lack of confidence in all computing. Nevertheless they continue to use their PCs to access their bank accounts and pay their bills. And considering the increasing incidence of malware attacks aimed at USB memory sticks it may not be a good idea to attach any USB devices to Microsoft computers in Internet cafes or motels on either side of the Tasman Sea.

This is anecdotal, but it confirms a trend. There seems to be a two tiered market. Big service providers, large corporations and computing professionals are sticking with XP. Amateur home users are converting to Windows 7. The remarkable early uptake of Windows 7 was as much due to the poor quality of Vista as to the merits of the newer operating system. Despite early prognostications about the rapid adoption of Vista, XP still remains solid in the corporate heartland.

This is an interesting reversal of the two tiered market that Microsoft created last century with NT and 95/98. In that earlier market, the professionals adopted the newer (and supposedly more advanced) technology. This time it is the "home" or "domestic" demographic that have adopted the newer technology.

There is very little incentive for professionals to adopt the new OS. In fact there are some major dis-incentives. Among the biggest would be the absence of an upgrade path. As we know XP cannot be upgraded to the new operating system. Windows Seven is a total replacement for XP --- Not an upgrade.

In this regard, Microsoft are ensnared by the success of their old "shrink-wrapped" paradigm. And remarkably many of those corporations using XP are stuck in a time-warp ... Many of them are still using IE6 as the default browser, because they host large numbers of inhouse web applications on their intranets. Applications specifically tailored for the very worst behaviour of Microsoft's ancient browser. No computer professionals would consider using IE6 outside the safe enclosure of a corporate firewall. And probably most of the inhouse support staff have already installed Firefox for their personal use.

And so IE6 still persists ... Thanks largely to the poor standards and unexploded incompatibility ordinance that Microsoft embedded into earlier versions of IE during the "browser wars". The real irony is that they didn't need to do it. Microsoft had already decisively won the "browser wars" thanks to their lethal strategy of "carpet bundling" ... Which effectively annihilated their competition. The dirty tricks were unnecessary over-kill ... And left a "scorched earth" of broken web-standards which Microsoft have inherited along with a large user base that they no longer wish to support ... The heavy weight of their own poor standards impeded their efforts to compete with Firefox, which arose phoenix-like from the ashes, after the browser wars.

If it were any other corporation besides Microsoft, your humble blogger would shed a few tears!

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