Why Microsoft Will Never Go Away

In a posting on Neowin, Brad Sams gives six reasons why Microsoft will lose market share in the future instead of growing ad infinitum as it has done since its inception. I want to go through these reasons and explain why he is wrong. It's really what I do best, so pay attention.

  1. The Juggernaut: Sams claims that since it's easy to target whoever is on top, and right now Microsoft Office has almost total control of the word processing market. This will be bad for Microsoft because people want choice.
    Wrong. People don't want choice. In fact, people want things as arbitrary as possible. When they say they want choice, they really mean they want things to work. Every time. There's a reason Microsoft Office is everywhere. It is a very powerful, very accessible, and working, product. People flame all day long about PC vs. Mac, Windows vs. Linux, and IE vs. everything else, but nobody is complaining about Office. What they're complaining about is that is costs money. That's not an Office issue, that's an open source issue. more on that later.
  2. Malware: Market Share dominance means always being on the defense for malware. And the malware almost always wins.
    As soon as market share goes to Apple, and they realize that they have been woefully unprepared for the gigantic tsunami of malware aimed at their increased market share, Microsoft will recover just as fast as it fell behind. The fact that malware is targeted at Microsoft only makes them stronger at defending against it. For every virus allowed through a firewall, thousands upon thousands of viruses, spam, and malware are caught because we run things like AVG, Adaware, Avast, Norton, etc. What most people think is malware is probably just intrusive cookies or startup software that they installed themselves. You rarely see a virus anymore that the user didn't click on themselves. Anti-virus company are doing surprisingly well in the effort to stop malware, but only on Microsoft platforms. On macs, well, let's just say they're doomed if they ever manage to have significant market share. "Macs don't get viruses, so we don't need to worry about them". Famous last words, Apple. Famous last words.
  3. Google: Google threatens various areas of Microsoft dominance, such as Mobile OS, Internet Explorer, Internet Search, and Google Docs. These are free and high quality so Microsoft better look out.
    But guess what? There's this little program called Microsoft Windows that virtually every business in the known universe uses on all their PCs. No matter how much market share Google Chrome manages to whisk away, IE will still ship with every copy of Windows. Good or Bad (answer is bad, by the way), it will always be there, and the browser uninformed will always use it. Why should the Google OS be any different than every other mobile OS that tries to compete with Microsoft? Because it's free? The user doesn't care if it's free. The user only cares if he or she can see the money they actually save. Unfortunately, manufacturers can now jack up the price to normal Microsoft Mobile OS prices, and make a killing. So I don't think think this is even worth talking about. Bing was the laughingstock of the Internet the moment is was released. Ya, it has some nity little tricks. But that won't stop people from using "google" as a verb. People will still be Googling on Bing. If that's the case, Bing doesn't stand a cahnce, Yahoo deal or no Yahoo deal.
  4. Open Source: Free, open OS's will eventually cause users to stop paying for Windows. They have active community support, and are starting to finally have all the functionality of Windows.
    A few points here. If you don't know your basic way around a computer, you will not be able to use Linux (or any of its progeny) efficiently. If something breaks, you are a slave to the forums. Good luck finding an answer that the PC illiterate community will understand and implement correctly. And let's face it, the majority of all Windows users are using Windows at work. And migrating a business to Linux is a task for only the bravest heroes in the land. And those people will likely be silenced by Microsoft. Also, nobody really pays for Windows anymore. The cost of Windows is deep in the PC production flow and supply chain. It comes bundled, so the cost is watered down by the supply chain complexity. Take Windows out of the chain, and the cost will simply be transferred to another node in the overall flow. The few manufacturers that offer Linux versions of their hardware are only offering a marginally lower price for it. The cost of Windows isn't really significant anymore. It's like saying we're not going to put a CD-Rom dive in, because it raises prices. The final product isn't going to be that much cheaper, because the extra capital will be spent on better Hard drives.
  5. Vista: Even if Vista doesn't suck now, everyone thinks it does. This was a huge mistake on Microsoft's part, one they'll pay dearly for.
    Granted, Microsoft screwed up royally with Vista. Even when it is working, it is anything but elegant. But you're missing one point. If you don't like Vista, you can always stick with XP. And that's exactly what the vast majority of businesses did. They didn't all flock to Apple or Linux, they just stuck with XP. Microsoft, realizing XP saved their collective behinds, kept supporting it. And now, as Windows 7 begins to roll out, Microsoft has given itself a second chance. Vista will be looked at as brief interlude in an otherwise sterling set of products, and that will be all. Of course, that's only if Windows 7 works. That has yet to be seen. User's seem to like it, but enterprise-level businesses will be the players to watch here. They're the ones supporting the market share.
  6. Apple: Apple has upped their game tremendously in the past decade, and their market share continues to grow. They have a fanatic user base, and businesses are starting to use OS X more and more. Look out, Microsoft.
    7.6% in the US, and 2-3%, worldwide. Woohoo!! That puts them behind basically every PC maker in the world, including Acer. Yes, Acer has more market share than Apple. Apple may have snazzy looks, and snazzy ads. When a company puts a computer in an ad, it will almost always be an Apple. They look good. And they cost a lot. And they're a status object. All things that big businesses don't give a rodent's buttocks about. Until Apple can give 1 reason why an enterprise company should use Macs, there's simply nothing to talk about. Nobody cares what the college kids are using. That's good for ads, but it won't do squat for the ol' profit margin. Even if they do "just work," (which I know for a fact isn't true. I've done IT work on enough macbooks to tell you with confidence that plenty of mac "just don't work") very few IT professionals want their thousands of users to have macs because they "just work" (What they really want is users who "just work"). Any IT manager worth his salt will make sure his PCs "just work" before they get deployed to users. Apple may be grabbing some of the personal user market space, but that's not where the battle is being fought.
To conclude, Microsoft is not simply a company you beat. Microsoft single-handedly shaped the world of computing as we know it. The world's business run on Windows, and so do entire governments. The only thing that can unseat Microsoft is simply a revolution in computing. unless we want to completely change the way we look at computers, and I don't know what or when that will be, Microsoft will always be dominant.

1 comment:

Benjamin said...

Even IF the world of computers completely shifts to a new platform, you can rest assured that MS will follow suit and dominate. No one starts writing a program for Mac and then says, well hey, we could make this for Windows too. They make it for Windows (because more people have it) and then it slowly makes its way to Mac. Google Chrome is a great example of this.

Let's talk about MS Office for a second. If the PC world uses that, what does the Mac world use? Oh right, I forgot (but not really), they also use MICROSOFT Office. I don't get it. Why would a company that's so perfect use Microsoft's software? Duhhh, cuz "it just works."

I wrote an article last week about the whole notion that Macs are safe from viruses (inspired by their worn out "I'm a Mac" ads). Here's the link to it if you're interested... I'm a Mac... Except When I'm Not

I agree with everything you said wholeheartedly btw... Just in case you didn't catch that.

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