09.12.08

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Eye on Microsoft: More Shutdowns, Standards Illness, and Technical Failures

Posted in Apple, FUD, GNU/Linux, HP, ISO, Marketing, Microsoft, Standard, Vista, Windows at 4:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Several new stories about Microsoft demonstrate its weakening, so we present them here with a few accompanying remarks.

Another One Bites the Dust

Make that another closure following the failure of other Microsoft units and services. The company will try to downplay the impact and deny the reasons, but those who have watched Microsoft closely already know that the company is bleeding billions of dollars in this area of its operations (namely Entertainment), which they constantly try to expand with financial success.

Microsoft Slaps PC Gamers, Decides to Close Ensemble Studios

[...]

Despite its legacy of producing some of the very finest strategy games with its Age of Empire and Age of Mythology series, Microsoft decided that it would be financially disadvantageous to continue to operate the wholly-owned Ensemble Studios.

For future retention, this story is also covered here. Prepare for lots of ‘damage control’ and excuses from the marketing company known as Microsoft Corporation.

Microsoft versus Standards

A lot of people — especially Web developers — have been complaining about Microsoft’s disregard for Web standards, as well as standards in general. Some British chap that’s familiar to many as “timbl”, is joining those complaints against Microsoft software, which is deficient and standards-unaware by design.

SIR TIM BERNERS LEE, inventor of the [World Wide Web] and current director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has a gripe with [Microsoft]’s Internet Explorer browser.

In a recent interview, the creator of the great WWW, noted that although he was loath to specifying his preference of web browser, IE just wasn’t up to scratch when it came to graphics encoding.

Using those OOXML corruptions, Microsoft inched closer to making its ‘anti-SVG’ more widely accepted ‘as part of the shebang’. Rob Wier wrote about this before. It’s also a good reason to keep Microsoft away from influencing ODF, which it may try to ‘extend’ the Microsoft way. On a related topic, Microsoft is said to have just joined the Object Management Group where it can ‘extend’ UML.

As part of its strategy for model-driven software development, Microsoft on Wednesday announced it has joined the Object Management Group (OMG).

This is also covered here.

Technical Failures

Apple and Microsoft don’t always get along (unless there are common interests). Overall, they rarely mix ‘politically’ or even technically.

Not everyone is rocking to the new iTunes 8 released Tuesday. An informal poll on ZDNet suggests that a problem with the latest edition of the Apple media player is affecting some, but not all, users of the software on Microsoft’s Windows Vista.

As more questions are being raised about the major system crash in the London Stock Exchange, Microsoft and others step further away, refusing to give acceptable explanations.

The LSE absolved its core TradElect platform from blame. The system, designed and built by Accenture, runs on HP ProLiant Servers and Microsoft .Net and SQL Server 2000 systems. Accenture declined to comment on Monday’s events. The LSE said, “we won’t discuss dealings with our individual suppliers”.

Bob McDowall, senior analyst at Tower Group, said sparse explanations provided by the LSE so far were “not very satisfactory”.

Perhaps they just want to get away with false advertising in their “Get the Facts” crusade against GNU/Linux. Why should such horrible downtimes bother them if they can claim 100% uptime without getting reprimanded, punished or even banned by the ASA?

The BSoD at the Olympics is said to be Microsoft's own fault and this new one is rather amusing too.

Trent Reznor, brainchild behind Nine Inch Nails, sure knows how to bring an audience down. In a recent concert Reznor, apparently trying to capture the pain of modern life, let the Blue Screen of Death flash across the screen…

Vista’s Impact

The following is closely related to a recent article about H-P's disdain of Vista. They are still said to be considering GNU/Linux because Windows Vista is not acceptable.

Still, the sources say employees in HP’s PC division are exploring the possibility of building a mass-market operating system. HP’s software would be based on Linux, the open-source operating system that is already widely available, but it would be simpler and easier for mainstream users, the sources say.

The Vista advertisements are still being discussed, or at least being compared to much superior GNU/Linux advertisements.

By way of comparison, have a look at these two older ads from IBM promoting Linux. Irrespective of whether you’re a Linux and IBM fan or not, the message is clear an unambigious.

In the first one a young boy is being taught things and given information. He sits, mostly passively, as people from around the world feed him information. He absorbs the information and finally it is revealed … he is Linux. It’s a little cheesy but the message is not in doubt.

Also on the subject on Microsoft’s marketing blitz, Glyn Moody suggests that it’s part of a series of ‘stunts’ and he is probably right. The horrid first advertisement drew in a crowd, regardless of its quality. It was a form of viral marketing.

Like many, I was intrigued and ultimately disappointed by the first of the new Microsoft ads. But I assumed that it was in the nature of a teaser – or maybe even a clever ploy to lower expectations for later episodes, thus increasing their eventual impact.

It’s probably better never to mention those ads.

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