Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> Revitalizing Vista (and Windows)
> ,----[ Quote ]
> | As I write this, the Microsoft Windows Vista Beta 2 has just
> | been released, and everyone is looking for software to run on
> | it. Ironically, though, a lot of Microsoft's own
> | products don?t work properly. Vista, it seems, only
> | runs new, Vista-optimized versions of Microsoft?s
> | most stalwart software.
I know I've been here before!
Big huge computer company comes out with a brand new operating system.
They are sure that "If we build it, they will buy". (at the time
another movie promised; "if you build it, they willl come").
When they released it, you had to upgrade everything else at the same
time. The cost of upgrading the Operating System, including all of the
secondary upgrades, was almost twice the current value of the machines
I haven't been here once, but 3 times.
It's 1991, IBM is so convinced that everyone will upgrade to MVS 4.0
that they bet almost all of the company's revenue plan on the upgrades
and new support contracts. But when MVS 4.0 is released, it turns out
that customers must also replace hardware, CICS, IMS, VTAM, and
numerous compiler libraries, because of the new memory management
scheme. It costs nearly $5 million to "upgrade" a machine that was
purchased less than 2 years earlier, for $4 milllion. Some companies
have 6 or more machines to be upgraded.
One of IBM's "Killer Apps" was DB2. But Oracle offered a similar
relational database for both mainframes and UNX systems. At about this
same time, Sun, Sequent, and Pyaramid all started offering SMP
machines. By using RISC processors with large local cache pools,
shared memory could be used to pass "messages" using the "pipe" and
"message queue" architecture of Unix.
Suddenly the top management was looking at $5 million for each of 6
CPUs, around $30 million, and $50,000 for a Sun/6 6 processor server,
and about $50,000 for Oracle, or $250,000 for a 12 processor Pyramid,
which included Oracle, and consulting services to "tune" the database
after the application was installed.
Oracle wasn't a fit for everything, but it was a fit for enough that
nearly 2/3 of the Mainframes could be replaced with UNIX for about 10%
of the cost.
In the 4th quarter of 1991, the bad news showed up in the quarterly
reports. IBM stock prices fell more than 50%, John Akers was about to
lose his job as CEO of IBM, thousands lost their jobs or were offered
Less than 6 months later, IBM released OS/2. But they decided that it
would ONLY be supported by Microchannel MCA bus, which meant that they
had to tell the owners of millions of IBM compatible PCs, that they had
spent $billions on "junk" and that they would have to spend more
$billions on new MCA based PCs to get OS/2. To make matters worse, IBM
refused to provide pin-out docmuntation on the 32 bit version of MCA
soon enough for other makers to produce 32 bit machines in time for
the realease of OS/2 2.0.
This so completely alienated customers and OEMs, that both ended up
opting for Windows 3.1, even though it was only a 16 bit operating
system and didn't even provide true multitasking If a good version of
UNIX had been available for $150 instead of $3000 (for a $3000
computer which came with Windows preinstalled) in 1992, users might
have chosen UNIX nstead, which was part of the reason why Linux evolved
Within 18 months, John Akers had lost his job, so had thousands of IBM
employees. Pension funds and mutual funds were seriously hurt, and
there were many, in 1992, who were predicting a huge recession that
could be as severe as the Great Depression of the 1930s.
IBM hired outsider Lou Gestnerr. Gerstner was CEO of RJR Nabisco at
the time. But the cookie and cigarrette man was also an IBM customer
and knew exactly how to turn IBM around.
The first thing he did was force IBM's organization into "Listen" mode
rather than "Dictate" mode. For years IBM sold computers directly to
accounting or "data processing". Other organizatons such as sales and
R&D had their own silos. In many cases IBM would come in to talk to a
group who wanted to hear about UNIX, and tell them about MVS. They
would want to hear about TCP/IP and IBM would tell them about SNA. As
result, IBM often didn't even get invited, or key decision makers
wouldn't even bother to show up. And when IBM tried the "bait and
switch", customers simply chose vendors who addressed their concerns.
Ironically, one company that was really good at pitching to exactly
what a customer wanted, was Microsoft. Microsoft would ask the
customer "What do you want to do". The customer signed a nondisclosure
agreement, gave Microsoft a specification, and in 2 weeks, Microsoft
had a "smoke and mirrors demo" showing how to accomplish the key goals
Gerstner also redesigned the revenue structure. Originally, when you
purchased a Mainframe with MVS, you would get the hardware, software,
and a support contract. IBM would put someone in your office, and if
anything went wrong with the computer, that person in the office could
have someone flown from anywhere in the country, or even the world, to
fix your problem. If necessary, they could even fly them out on a
chartered jet. Of course, IBM wanted to keep those chartered Jet
flights to a minimum, so they found ways to fixes things via networks,
via telephone, or even by using e-mail (profs) to transfer files. The
IBM on-site person was always connected to IBM's network in some way.
Gerstner realized that what people wanted was a reliable system that
could be customized and supported. He also reaized that IBM often
spent $billions trying to create custom solutions from scratch, when
most of the technology to succeed was already in-house, and only
required a good interface between consultants trained in IBM's
technology, and IBM software developers.
Even the commission structures were revised. For years the Reps used
bait-and-switch to get higher commissions from the higher profit. They
were eager to sell MVS, AS/400, and OS/2 systems. They were reluctant
to sell VM/CMS, UNIX, and Windows based solutions.
By breaking up the offerings into hardware, software, support, and
consulting, and pricing each independently, then making commission
structures more appropriate to level the playing field, the customer
could get just enough of what he wanted, and know exactly what he was
paying for. The gamble paid of, and by the time Gerstner retired, IBM
was literally a different company.
The 3rd DejaVu was Microsoft Windows NT 3.1. Again, this was a product
which demanded such huge increases in memory, CPU speed, and hard drive
capacity, that most of the machines purchased even 1 year earlier
couldn't run it. Because upgrades had to be performed on-site, the
cost of upgrading even those machines which could run Windows NT was
substantial. Some companies quoted upgrade costs as high as $10,000
per machine, including backup, hardware upgrades, software upgrades,
and data restoration. Even simply replacing the existing machine
required that each user's personal information be transferred to a
network drive. Since these personal files were all over the place, and
mixed in with applications, information was often lost. Sometimes
years worth of project related information was lost because files
hadn't been backed up before the drive was reformatted.
>From 1993 to 1996, Microsoft struggled to keep UNIX and OS/2 off the
desktop. They spent $4 billion/year promoting vaporware, promising
that "Chicago", later called "Windows 95" would be everything NT was
supposd to be. Meanwhile, Linux, including SLS, Slackware, Yddragisil
Plug-n-Play, Caldera, and Red Hat, along with FreeBSD, UnixWare, and
Solaris/x86 were rapidly evolving into remarkable systems But they
were all struggling to get press coverage. The media industry had
discovered that Microsoft was willing to pay for good coverage, and
willing to punish publications that didn't give it to them.
The ploy worked. Even though Windows 95 wasn't really "stable" until
the release of Windows 95B in late 1996, Microsoft was able to keep the
OEMs and large corporations from switching from Windows 3.1 to Linux,
Unix, or OS/2. The DOJ antitrust case showed a pattern of tactics
Microsoft used to prevent these defections, including numerous criminal
activties, but since the Judge didn't want a "circus", he limited the
public testimony to 25 witnesses per side, and agreed to consider a
structural remedy if a pattern of abuse could be established.
In addiition to the direct testimony, there were thousands of briefs
and depositions taken. Many came forward when Judge Jackson ruled that
Microsoft's license conditions that required a Microsoft lawyer to be
present during any interview with investigators, was a form of
intimidation and obstruction of justice. Microsoft publicly announced
that witnesses could talk to federal investigators without the
Microsoft lawyer. Suddenly people were coming out of the woodwork to
make a sworn deposition. Because the material was subject to
nondisclosure agreements, most of these were sealed, but Judge Jackson
did read these, and was satisfied that there was a clear pattern of
criminal activity. The appeals court did not consider most of these
exhibits, because Microsoft had not been able to cross-examine or
confront witnesses in open court. Even though there was evidence that
the monopoly had been establshed through fraud, extortion, blackmail,
sabotage, espionage, and obstruction of justice, the Appeals court had
to overrule Jackson because the witnesses weren't called and
Bush announced early in the primaries, while he was still one of about
4 candidates, and still had Elizebeth Dole, and John McCain, as rivals,
that "Companies should have a right to innovate, and profit from that
innovation". It was an open declaration. "I'm getting lots of money
from Microsoft, and I will repay the favor if elected". The
announcement had a chilling effect on the election. Dole and McCain
couldn't raise funds anymore. By then it was public that Bush had $30
million in his war chest just for the primaries, and was able to get
lots more if needed Most of the other candidates didn't even have $10
million. Dole and McCain simply withdrew from the primaries and gave
the nomination to Bush. But they openly expressed their concerns about
how the election was being "bought".
Once elected, Ashcroft wasted no time in settling the case, making
deals behind the backs of the AGs of other states. Most of the AGs
were republicans as well, and went along. Restructuring was taken off
the table, removing it as a bargaining chip for any stronger remedies.
Microsoft executives were given immunity for all prior acts, including
those mentioned in the deposiions. Bill Gates' prior arrest and
conviction records were kept sealed. Even the ruling of the appeals
court was effectively vacated.
The "compliance committee" was staffed by "three blind mice". Most
allegations raised to the committee weren't even itemized, they were
merely quantified. In spite of as many as 100 allegations per quarter,
none of them were investigated substantially (usually because the
information being presented was covered by Nondisclosure agreements).
The few concerns that were brought before the judge were predetermined
by the DOJ to be "non-issues".
Quite simply, the Judge was probably reading about numerous illegal
activities conducted by Microsoft. She was openly "concerned" that the
settlement had not achieved any of it's objectives (Microsoft was an
even STRONGER monopoly), and was frustrated by the DOJs unwillingness
to press any of these issues before the court.
My guess is that once she has finally been relieved of the oversight,
she will be standing right next to Judge Jackson in saying "these guys
are criminals and should be convicted as criminals". Until then, she
has to sit on the bench at the "rubber stamp" sessions, listening to
how the "committee investigated xxx allegations and found that none of
them needed to be presented to the judge". Meanwhile, Microsoft
continues it's diversionary tactics of haggling over disclosures of
protocols (99% of which are already public), while publishing licenses
that are flagrant contempt of court.
And the judge can't do a thing about it.
So the market is doing it instead. 200 million people have downloaded
and deployed FireFox from reporting sites (no clue how many are
deploying from corporate mirrors). 100 million have deployed
OpenOffice. In the last 2 years, over 100 million "Linux Ready"
machines have been sold, most of which require Linux to garner the
benefits of the additional expense.
Several corporate CEOs have publicly stated their intent to switch to
Several Governments and government agencies have adopted "Linux
preferred" policies, often requiring very exhaustive arguments for why
a desktop, laptop, or server must be Windows instead of Linux. In most
cases, Microsoft has managed to avert "Linux Only" policies in which
new machines cannot be purchased with Windows.
Nearly all large and medium sized companies now use Linux servers.
Small businesses, like MLMs and self-employed, such as accountants,
doctors, and lawyers are still primarily in the Windows camp, but these
are not big revenue opportunities for Microsoft.
> | If you want software for Vista or want to spruce up
> | your existing Windows XP system with some greats
> | oftware, look no further than Open Source. The
> | catalog is large, so let's get started.
If Microsoft didn't "own" the OEM preinstallation channel, Vista would
probably be dead in the water. As it is, most OEMs signed thier
contracts before RC1 was released. They must be sweating bullets over
RC2. If the GA version isn't substantially better, it's going to be a
very bad year for anyone in the laptop or desktop business.
Looks like IBM got out just in time.
Which is interesting, since Sam Palmisano, was once in charge of the PC
> Very detailed article, but need to pretend to be a search
> engine to get past subscription barrier.