There are certain responsibilities with being a monopoly like Microsoft. You need to continue to honour your clients, you need to be fair to other corporate entities, you need to follow the law, you need to gain fair and be generous with profits, you need to encourage the best from your employees and you need to be good to the environment. You can argue with me about one or the other items on this list but I think its pretty fair. As rules they apply to smaller companies and entrepreneurs as well.
And how has Microsoft met these challenges? To start off with I’d have to say that I admire Microsoft. I think that they have hired excellent people and have made some excellent product. Not everything is good but a lot is. It’s easy, of course, to deride the leader in the software game. They are an easy target after all: Microsoft is just so big!
But I also have to say that they really screwed up with Vista. Not only is it missing some of the ‘essential pillars’ that were originally promised with its release but even on the latest hardware it runs slow. Network connectivity is slow. Many applications don’t work. It is bloated where it would have been better to be lean. The UAC or User Access Control is good corporate level security being shoved down the throat of everyone who wants a home Windows PC these days. It was so rigid that it was successfully challenged in court by Google among others but when will reparations be made? It looks like Service Pack 1 will be delayed until the first quarter of next year. It should be out now by all rights.
XP was hard enough on development teams like the one I belong to since many of the forms or windows had to be resized to be able to live in the XP world but Vista, my God. Vista has a nasty middle finger pointed in the face of backwards compatibility.
There are many things I could go on about (like file copying being glacial, etc.) but let’s just look at the environmental effect of forcing users to upgrade their PC’s. You could say that doing this stimulates the economy but just look at what it does to the environment. There is a lot of hazardous material that goes into the manufacture of a computer system. Even if the system is recycled on to someone else that old PC belonging to that end user is still falling off the desk into the junk pile.
It’s not only Microsoft that is to blame here. Apple’s new OSX doesn’t work on older iMac’s (like the one I’m currently typing on) either.
Here’s a thought. How about designing an O/S that works with the current hardware out there. Very few really need the bleeding edge software and hardware. Improving software is what I spend a great deal of my working day doing. I am not some Luddite trying to slow down the technology race. I just think we should be racing toward a mutually beneficially and sustainable future.
If wishes were horses
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