Bonum Certa Men Certa

Eye on Microsoft: Being Booted from Land of the Lobby

We have lost pace and also lost track of this series of posts which readers have requested, so here is a fast catchup.

Bye Bye, Miss American Pie



One of the headlines that stood out was about Microsoft losing the very same place it's manipulating like no other technology company. Yes, Washington has decided to say farewell to Microsoft Office and shortly we will do another post about OpenOffice.org.

Washington D.C. has joined 500,000+ businesses and organizations in moving its communication and productivity tools into the cloud. Vivek Kundra, CTO for the District, signed an agreement with Google to migrate the organization's 38,000 employees to Google Apps, the search giant's web-based offering of communication and productivity tools. Washington D.C. is a not-insignificant win for Google, and yet another blow to Microsoft's incumbent Office suite, as a surge of web apps steadily replaces their desktop counterparts.


Realty Check



The sub-heading at the very top is a bit of a stretch, but amid these troubling economic times, the following among 20 quotes is still fascinating:

19. "There is such an overvaluation of technology stocks that it is absurd. I would include our stock in that category." Ballmer comments on the dot-com bubble, back in 1999. It burst not long after, proving him right.


At least Microsoft's CEO is being honest. Sometimes. And with very heavy buybacks approved to be issued, Microsoft may fall into debt pretty soon. Bill Gates expressed deep concerns for the economy a day or so ago, so he must know something (inside information) about Microsoft, which Steve Ballmer openly insisted is not immune to the financial crisis. That was over a week ago, just before the most horrendous week or trading.

Super VIsta is Still Just a Vista



Colleagues of mine had the 'pleasure' of working with Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. Back in 2006 I sat down and wrote my thoughts about it. It went like this:

"...Been in a meeting just a moment ago. It was comical.

"Some folks have decided to experiment with Microsoft's latest ultimate super ultra high-processor/computing offer. Guess what?

"The computational server can -- for whatever reason -- accept only two connections at the time. To make matters worse, one has to log off, so being idle is out of the question. Even then, there are bugs that leave sessions hanging, IIRC.

"It gets worse.

"40 nodes are available but sometimes only one is actually used. With two users logged on, one would sometimes keep 39 nodes occupied while the other gets just one.

"I am told it's buggy. I am told it's unstable (even from people who favour the use of Windows on the desktop). People who wanted to take this gamble with Microsoft on the server are complaining and probably have regrets. "We have informed Microsoft", they say, but what do they expect? Microsoft holds the code and it's too arrogant to take care of bugs upon the customers' demands (just look at Internet Explorer). Bill Gates, who is the mastermind that insisted on releasing the product, will soon retire. The product was released half-based after long delays.

"Problems only on the server? You bet it ain't the case. A colleague of mine is spending weeks (if not months) trying to run experiments on a Windows XP laptop. Hibernation fails, jobs are crashing after long runtimes, and certain movements of the laptop (e.g. the jerking in a car) lead to crashes as well.

"Thank you, Microsoft, for reminding people why software you produce is going down the dustbin. It's better to produce a reliable desktop before deciding to take entire clusters down."

That's what I wrote back then. Now comes SJVN with some testimonials from customers.

Microsoft, after spending decades paying no real attention to high-performance computing, wants to be an HPC player with the release of HPC Server 2008. Can you believe it? Yes, there was Windows Compute Cluster Server 2003. After a long search, I found one user. He told me, "Updates that require reboots are far too frequent for production-use systems," "Jobs randomly crash," and "Few HPC applications actually support Windows compute nodes."


It does not sound as though much progress has been made since then. There are more urgent issues to address, mainly using vapourware techniques.

Taking Another Company to Court



Microsoft, having amassed so many cases against it, has just sued DHL.

Microsoft Sues DHL After Train Dumps 21,600 Xboxes

Microsoft is suing U.S.-based cargo-delivery service DHL Express for allegedly losing 21,600 Xbox game consoles because of a train derailment in Texas, according to court documents.


The XBox business has already accumulated billions of dollars in losses. Where will it end and why it Microsoft hiding the truth?

"If you can’t make it good, at least make it look good."

--Bill Gates, Microsoft

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