Sunday, October 07, 2007

Have You Noticed ... ?

Have you noticed a recent confusion within Microsoft about the design and marketing of its software? I think I am seeing one but I am not an expert.

Vista sales and installations have not been going as well as Microsoft had hoped when this operating system was introduced approximately one year ago. Some businesses have been reluctant to adopt it due to incompatibilities with other companies' software and due to some of its own internal instabilities. See this Google search which returns 51,200,000 responses to the search phrase -
Vista problems. A Service Pack for Vista is already due out soon, according to many sources listed in the second link. Vista seems to be somewhat "heavy" for home computers and is not as willingly accepted as was XP, especially because the really neat features are only available in the premier business versions, and at a greatly increased cost. Of course the Vista OS was primarily developed for business use from the start. Several months back, there was a somewhat disparaging joke that Vista was little more than Windows XP SP3, at least as far as the home user was concerned. Now, however, it is evidently not a joke. Microsoft has already set a release date for XP Service Pack 3. Further, Microsoft has twice delayed the date that all new Windows computers must be supplied with a version of Vista. I believe the latest deadline is at the end of 2007. Some computer manufacturers are taking advantage of this delay to continue to supply Windows XP machines.

Microsoft has begun to compete more actively and directly with Google and Sun, its primary rivals for online services. Other
free office suites are available, such as the free, downloadable suite, the free IBM Lotus Symphony, the free web based Zoho Office Suite and others. Since Google has affiliated with Sun Microsystems the two corporations have gone into direct competition with Microsoft. They are offering OpenOffice, the open source office suite which Sun helped develop in 2000, and the basis upon which Sun's commercial Star Office was built. This affiliation will provide much more than the free Docs, Spreadsheets, Gmail, Talk, Earth, etc., applications presently available from Google. Microsoft is apparently offering a free, advertising supported version of Microsoft Works 8. It is making Microsoft Office 2003 more functional and secure with a free download of Service Pack 3 (SP3.) I very recently read, but cannot recall where, that the full Microsoft Office Suite will become available as an online service, but only if you already have Office installed on your computer. Spaces Live versus Blogspot, LiveWriter versus Google's online editor, Microsoft Groups versus Google Groups. I don't believe Google has an equivalent for X-Box and Halo-3, however.

I'm not certain that I am doing anything other than mentioning to you that there is a cyber-"competition" going on among industry giants and that it is bound to have an effect on us. By "us" I refer to individuals, families, and tiny businesses. Microsoft appears to be more actively pursuing small business to enterprise size business. While Google may have aspirations in that direction planned for the future, it currently concentrates on the "small" end of the merchandising spectrum. If Google ever officially incorporates an Operating System of its own, "Katie, bar the door." Many of the hot links above are to searches or to summary articles. I strongly suggest to anyone planning on buying a new computer or "upgrading" (to some, that recently has meant switching back to XP from Vista) that you follow the breadcrumb trail to the real experts and draw your own conclusions. Given my current understanding of the situation, my personal choice is to stick with my XP-Pro OS and Office-Pro 2003 productivity suite for the foreseeable future. Of course I will continue to use many Google applications, as they fit my needs more closely, but my overall preference stays with Microsoft.

Peace, Doc

Copyright © 2007, Thomas A. Blood, Ph.D.

"4:00 PM 10/04/07 : GOOG $594.05 +15.02 +2.59% High $596.00 Low $587.01 Vol 05,073,044
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