Competition With Microsoft Isn't Just Possible, It's Commonplace

from the happens-all-the-time dept

Mitch Wagner is taking issue with everyone who says that you can’t compete with Microsoft. He argues that, not only can you compete with Microsoft successfully, it happens all the time. He brings up the usual examples that show, indeed, it is possible to compete with Microsoft – though many of those companies are in a pretty tough fight and may not last. Even the ones that have won battles up until now might end up losing eventually. Still, he points out that the competition is leading to better offerings for consumers in the long run, and that’s a good thing. Of course, what he doesn’t mention is that any startup that comes up with a technology a VC considers to be a potential focus of Microsoft will never get funding…

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Comments on “Competition With Microsoft Isn't Just Possible, It's Commonplace”

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LittleW0lf says:

"You can't go wrong with IBM..."

I remember a number of years ago hearing from a professor in school that for a long time, the motto in the field of typewriters and other business machines was “You can’t go wrong with IBM.” It wasn’t that choosing IBM was the best decision, but that since everyone used IBM, your failures would be more criticized if you went with someone else. It went on like this long after IBM lost the foothold as the best in business machines, since people didn’t care that they could get a cheaper, better, and less expensive machine from someone else, they had to buy IBM, because if the machine didn’t work, their job depended on it. Now, obviously I wasn’t alive when this was a common utterance, but I’ve heard the same statement uttered about other companies in my presence too.

About 8 years ago, I was working with Borland, configuring the labs for the yearly Borland TechFest (Borland Developers Conference,) and one of the folks I worked with had used that phrase a number of times in regards to Compaq. He was the supplier of the loaned Compaq computers used during the conference, and he stated on several occasions, “You can’t go wrong with Compaq.” His reasoning, when I questioned him, was the same as why those who used IBM stated, “It is easier to blame an oddity on the machine itself, since Compaqs don’t go bad, and when they do it is rare.” Now, at the time I was a salesperson/repair person of computers and I knew that while there was a few companies that consistantly sold broken printers, just about any computer had an equal likelihood of being broken. And several of the Compaqs we used that weekend died too, however the fact that it was Compaq meant support, and better equipment, etc… (even though we all know that is probably a load of dingo kidneys.)

The problem here is the same thing. It doesn’t matter if Theo DeRaalt suddenly makes OpenBSD the most powerful, easiest to use, and cheapest desktop platform out there (you can hold your breath as long as you want, it won’t happen,) Microsoft will still hold a Marketshare on the Operating System market because, “You cannot go wrong with Microsoft.” I think Linux has gone a very long way to toppling Microsoft, and there is still a long way to go, but people will continue uttering this phrase until there is sufficient pull from another product to topple Microsoft.

However, when our jobs don’t need to depend on it, we use the better operating systems, despite the fact you can’t go wrong with Microsoft.

aNonMooseCowherd says:

Re: Microsoft's dominance

Compounding the problem is the fact that the press mostly just repeats what other members of the press report, so once it became part of the general mindset that Windows was the only “real” operating system, it has taken (and will continue to take) years to change this perception. The trade press isn’t much better. Most reports still start with the assumption that every operating system is supposed to look just like Windows, and any differences are therefore considered bugs. So Joe Sixpac and Aunt Tillie continue buying Windows because they don’t really realize they have a choice.

LittleW0lf says:

Re: Re: IBM

The way I used to hear the phrase was “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM”.

I’ve heard it both ways, but the statement still implies the same thing. Regardless to which way the statement was phrased, the folks that bought Toshiba typewriters, or Brother, or Casio, etc. had to prove it was the machine and not the company that was at fault…the folks who bought IBM weren’t concerned because it was a commonly believed fact that “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.”

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