Conflicted about Microsoft

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 yesterday.  (Funny, that link says IE7 all over it.)

I have such conflicting feelings about Microsoft.  They have provided a ton of my primary software for over 20 years.  I started on DOS, then moved through every single version of their operating systems.  I learned to install their servers and server products.  I was an early adopter of Microsoft Office including my favorite programs Excel and Powerpoint.  I try almost all of their software.

However, they have a fatal flaw.  They just can not shake off their desktop software roots.  It’s all .exe and .msi files.  I want Web applications now.  The future is thin-client!  Why can’t they evolve?  I want all of my apps to be online!  I know, I know, if everything is online, then they will not have a monopoly of the desktop operating system.  My answer to that is: Tough.  They had a great run, but you can’t have everything you want forever.  They need to focus all their products online as SaaS and charge for use.  They need to make the operating system free.  They need to dump Internet Explorer and use Webkit or Mozilla, because that will allow them to stop messing up the entire web development world.

I know this is a massive change I am asking for from the Redmond Giant.  I fear for their corporate lives.  I am conflicted.  They are in a position to make some great online software.  But I know, they will not be able to change.  I feel sad for them.

4 replies on “Conflicted about Microsoft”

Glen, where have you been? Thin clients are out. It’s all about Web Enabled Applications running in a VM on the browser (Silverlight, Flex, JavaFX) or on the Desktop (Silverlight 3, AIR). Even Ajax apps can’t really be called a thin clients anymore. All that JavaScript (Code and Data) on the client.

Odd that you plead your case for MSFT when they roll out a new version of their browser, the exact thing that enables them to offer web-based applications.

I mean, it only mildly kills your entire point. 🙂

Actually, it’s exactly my point. IE8 is desktop software! I don’t want them to buiild IE ONLY web software. I want them to build standards-based web software. IE8 is not even a good browser. It’s slow and not particularly a good user experience.

And, I am also conflicted about the whole thing anyway. I like them, but I find myself using less and less of their software.

It’s true that they might have to change eventually, but Microsoft continues to earn ungodly profits (so don’t feel bad). They are making more and more profit every year (15% increases in net profits every year forever, including a 25% increase from 2007 to 2008). Mostly everyone fears changes, but it is especially hard when than status quo is great. I think instead of making their OS free, they will stop making IE free and merge them together. And than make their software only work within their browser.

The office suite is part of the fabric of most businesses (open office is great, and free, yet only a small percent of people will use it). As more and more programs run off the web, the desktop operating system will lose its power, but if Microsoft can change an “operating system” to mean a system to access the office suite online, than they will maintain their place at the top.

Whatya think?