10.28.10

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Corporate Journalism Says “Microsoft’s Consumer Brand is ‘Dying’”, Now We Need to Worry About Apple

Posted in Apple, Microsoft at 3:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Cemetery in snow

Summary: Microsoft is moving rapidly into its IBM-like demise, but this does not mean that software freedom wins just yet; Apple too is a company to keep our eyes on

In the previous post we showed Microsoft losing ground on the Web. This is true not just when it comes to deployed technology; it’s also true when it comes to Web news coverage, which is why Techrights decided to de-emphasise Microsoft, just as it de-emphasised Novell when it was put up for sale and then stopped doing anything of significance.

Microsoft hardly appears in the media anymore and its cash cows too are suffering (showing declines). The company can only try to approach children now. It tries getting them addicted to the #1 cash cow, Microsoft Office, with the help of state schools, which the Gates Foundation is meanwhile putting under its thumb. Anyway, that monopoly too is said to be at risk in schools, according to assessments like this new one, which also gives historical perspective:

Office 2010 won me back as a power user after Office 2003 stunk, Office 2007 was good but not great, and both OpenOffice and Google Apps had become quite compelling. Office 2010 was just so powerful and feature-rich that it was hard to ignore.

More schools may gradually realise that they don’t need Office anymore, so Microsoft will just dump it free of charge (long-term investment). This is also an area where the Gates Foundation helps Microsoft getting children stuck with Microsoft, much to their parents’ or teachers’ regret sometimes. Anyway, a recent downgrade of Microsoft said explicitly that school children moving to other operating systems was a reason to believe that Microsoft’s future was not promising. All children are tomorrow’s adults after all.

As if the many recent downgrades of Microsoft were not strong enough an indicator of Microsoft’s demise, the corporate media calls Microsoft “a dying consumer brand”. Mind the CNN headline “Microsoft is a dying consumer brand” (an article that made waves yesterday, e.g. [1, 2]). It tries to be reasonable:

Consumers have turned their backs on Microsoft. A company that once symbolized the future is now living in the past.

Microsoft has been late to the game in crucial modern technologies like mobile, search, media, gaming and tablets. It has even fallen behind in Web browsing, a market it once ruled with an iron fist.

[...]

A rundown of Microsoft’s major consumer projects finds trouble in almost all of them.

Internet Explorer’s popularity has been waning for years, and one recent study showed that for the first time in more than a decade, more people are using alternative browsers. The browser is becoming the single most critical piece of software on a device — potentially eclipsing the operating system — but all of the major innovations of the past few years, like tabbed browsing and add-on extensions, came from outside Microsoft.

Windows Phone 7 has promise, but Microsoft dug itself an enormous hole with the subpar Windows Mobile platform. With its market share currently sitting below 5%, developers are taking a “wait and see” approach.

The article itself may not be as harsh on Microsoft as the headline. As our reader “Twitter” put it last night:

I did not have to wait long for perfection. Laura Didio is quoted in this CNN puff piece about the death of Microsoft as a “consumer brand”.

“In this age, the race really is to the swift. You cannot afford to be an hour late or a dollar short,” says Laura DiDio, principal analyst at ITIC. “Now the biggest question is: Can they make it in the 21st century and compete with Google and Apple?” Some influential analysts think not.

The rest of the article is devoted to downplaying the obvious irrelevance and reduced profitability of the company. They run through the littiny of failures, Zune, IE, Vista but pump up supposed business purchases of Windows 7 as evidence of hope for the company. They do point out that people prefer other program when given the choice at work, but GNU/Linux and other free software is not mentioned.

Laura Didio’s revival as an analyst is a little less surprising than the revival of O’Gara. Didio was a principle promoter of the Amitiville Horror fraud back in the 1970s. Her Wikipedia article suffered a ghostly deletion but most of the info is still in the wikibin and the fun parts are:

While still in collage and working as a News Assistant and News Writer at Channel 5 News in NYC, DiDio contacted Kathy and Lee Lutz who agreed to let the then Metromedia (now Fox News) news outlet have exclusive access to film a seance in the house. The seance was organized by Connecticut based paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warrens invited a number of other psychics to the seance including representatives from Duke University’s School of Parapsychology. DiDio served as a producer for the evening’s events and assisted reporter Marvin Scott in his reporting of the seance, which was televised on the Channel 5 10 O’Clock News broadcast. She later also accompanied well-known paranormal investigator Hans Holzer into the house to document a follow-up seance he did using trance medium Ethel Myers-Johnson. The events surrounding the alleged haunting at 112 Ocean Ave, Amityville, NY served as the basis for a book “The Amityville Horror” by Jay Anson and several movies. The topic remains one of intense interest to this day. DiDio has been interviewed frequently on the subject, but she herself has never published any articles or reports on “The Amityville Horror.” DiDio believes that something extraordinary did happen to the Lutzes to cause them to flee 112 Ocean Ave, Amityville after only 30 days.

A true story! After that, she went on to her career as a Microsoft booster, which was crowned by pretending the SCO case had merit. Seven years after signing the SCO NDA and claiming the now failed copyright extortion was on solid ground, it seems she may rise from the discredited and promote again. A happy Halloween, indeed.

Joab from IDG has meanwhile passed along this “Special Report” about Microsoft. It is one heck of a puff piece from ABC News (also corporate press). Does the site disclosure the fact that Bill Gates has just paid it millions of dollars (see last month’s news [1, 2)? Of course not.

One must also remember the connection between ABC and The Walt Disney Company, which is in turn connected to Apple (corporate press is typically like that). We must not take our eyes off Apple, either. This post which is titled “The Shark” was sent by a reader yesterday to remind us that Apple is no better than Microsoft and although the post is slightly old by now, it does raise a key point in a timely fashion (because Apple has begun attacking “openness” [1, 2], where its meaning is almost analogous to that of freedom):

Apple has jumped the shark.

Yes, I’m willing to say it—and yes, now, when Apple is poised to revolutionize computing again, making everything touchable, mobile, and user-unservicable. I imagine, Gruber’s going to mock me, and big Steve is going to order my phone remotely bricked. I don’t care, because I get the distinctive evil vibe that I remember all-too-well from before. Back in the early days. Back before Microsoft destroyed the software business.

This pointer was sent to us by someone who bought a computer from Apple and regretted it later because OS X went the wrong way.

Android/Linux are the rising stars at the moment, especially in this ever-growing space. Did Apple and/or Microsoft contribute to the latest lawsuit from Gemalto [1, 2]? Both Apple and Microsoft have already sued using software patents directly. It’s all they have left, but that’s a subject we’ll reserve for another post. Apple is the company which is named after a fruit (not to be confused with the United Fruit Company even though its digital impact may one day become similar), but it does not make it any softer than Micro-Soft.

Bertha Worms
By Bertha Worms (1868–1937)

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14 Comments

  1. mcinsand said,

    October 28, 2010 at 7:03 am

    Gravatar

    This almost makes me want to go out and buy a copy of MS-Office. I wouldn’t install it, but I fear a world where Apple becomes the dominant player. Sadly, we are approaching it. Apple has forgotten more about anticompetitive behavior and sleazy trade practices than MS ever knew.

    Regards,
    mc

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Apple has not yet taken control over governments and schools (i.e. over children’s minds). It is therefore possible to have kids raised on Free software before they get indoctrinated at the expense of taxpayers (education budgets).

    Apple is different from Microsoft, it’s not better.

    twitter Reply:

    You would do better to put gnu/linux on your friend’s used Mac. Microsoft’s quarterly report is due tonight, which should show the rewards of screwing customers, employees and shareholders.

    In news that combines both Mac and Microsoft non-freedom, the new version of Office for Mac requires “product activation”. It looks like Apple’s unFair Play digital restrictions are just the start of Apple annoyances because any non free software author can make the installation and use of their software as difficult as they like.

    Office for Mac 2011 comes with a 25-character alphanumeric activation key that must be entered within 15 days of running any of the suite’s applications for the first time. … the grace period and the ramifications of not activating Office for Mac 2011 are stricter than those facing Office users running Windows.

    There are other silly restrictions for the Mac version about how many times the software can be installed, etc. The point of this difficulty is baffling when you consider Microsoft’s absolute failure to get people to use their new non-standard OOXML.

    The Windows version, of course, is not much better. The supposed leniency is a bizarre game of function hide and seek that lasts 180 days if the user knows all of the tricks.

    Everyone is better off dumping all of these silly restrictions by moving to free software. Why bother with either Windows or Mac when you can get a free office suite on a free OS, both of which work better, treat the user with respect and use real standards without loss of Microsoft’s legacy formats?

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Many Mac users buy Office to interact with Windows-using colleagues. They ought to instead persuade their colleagues to move to ODF, the international document standard.

  2. NotZed said,

    October 28, 2010 at 7:27 am

    Gravatar

    The world has evolved from the strong taking advantage of the weak. As one tyrant goes so another rises. The western world is bending over in anticipation of another little jobbie from the big jobbie. And they’ll love it all the way. They’ll get what they deserve.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Microsoft is in some sense like old IBM and Google+Apple+Oracle+Red Hat are among those competing for space in OSes (with *NIXes).

  3. mcinsand said,

    October 28, 2010 at 7:41 am

    Gravatar

    >>Apple is different from Microsoft, it’s not better.

    I agree, but I would state it more emphatically. Apple is different from Microsoft, in that Apple is more evil when it comes to consumer’s rights than MS could ever be. Had Apple won the PC wars of the 1980′s, I have no doubt that we would struggle to put alternative OS’s on the hardware that we buy, to the extent that we would be facing prosecution and persecution. The only reason they ever allowed a boot loader onto their hardware was because Apple is still in the minority; it is part of their own version of Embrace and Extend. I am thankful that Apple never had the actual power to Extinguish!

    Regards,
    mc

  4. Agent_Smith said,

    October 28, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    Gravatar

    IMHO, I don’t think crApple will ever be as ubiquitous as M$ is. Not now, not ever. M$ cheapened its products and mass marketed them. crApple won’t do it, Jobs is a snob and makes products to snobs. He will never be popular.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    If Macs were widely used, they would lose the allure and people would no longer pay as much for them or even perceive them as much better.

    What makes Apple revered by some is the price point, which makes the buyer feel better about him/herself. Ask people why they buy Armani and Tommy Hilfiger. The PR industry has established an appeal to psyche which makes all this possible, often appealing to our insecurities or inferiority complex. Apple sells the ‘medicine’ like some religions do.

    twitter Reply:

    I envy Mac for battery life if nothing else, but I’m not sure they have kept this up since moving to Intel. What is strange is not so much that Apple can do it but that other laptop makers fail. The situation is mostly the result of the Wintel monopoly. The sooner Microsoft dies, the sooner we will get better hardware.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Some ARM-based portables may be coming (just Linux/Android of course), but Microsoft impedes that with software patents assaults.

    twitter Reply:

    Cool, that will be nice when it finally happens.

    Thanks also for the link to the B3 home server. Projects like this demonstrate clearly that ARM is ready for laptop use if Zuarus and iPhone did not. For the $500 they want, I’ll stick with a cheap netbook like the EEE PC 701 which can be had for about $140. The B3 would be excellent for small business. I wonder when the Microtards will get around to extorting Excito with Imaginary Property monopolies that the EU does not officially recognize.

  5. Agent_Smith said,

    October 29, 2010 at 1:32 pm

    Gravatar

    Indeed, whoever studied uProcessor architecture knows a RISC design will always be better than a CISC one. Less instructions, less pain to decode them, less cycles of processor time is spent, less energy as a result. But, thanks to the collusion M$/Intel, we’re stuck on this x86 architecture, which is archaic and should have gone long time ago.

    Dr. Roy Schestowitz Reply:

    Technology is driven not by what’s best… only by what’s best to some companies’ bottom line. It’s usually innovator’s dilemmas that break this vicious type of cycle.

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