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market areas MS leaves alone?


Microsoft is well known for aggresively pursuing certain market segments, sometimes choosing to give away software for free in order to gain dominance (IE, Media Player, Outlook Express, IM client, hotmail, etc).

However, it seems like there are certain no-brainer segments they stay completely out of; for instance, no MS branded Virus solution, and no MS Utility Suite (like Norton Utilities).  These sorts of solutions tie very closely to the OS, so it would seem to make sense for MS to pursue.  Why let Symantec and McAffee control this market?

Any insight as to why this is?

Jason
Monday, February 23, 2004

In the case of utilities, it's usually because utilities are always just things that make more sense to be built-in. So rather than write "microsoft undelete" it's far more sensible to add a Recycle Bin to the operating system.

I'm not sure why Microsoft doesn't do anti-virus. I've heard some theories (they are afraid of the liability?)

The only cohesive theory of what Microsoft decides to develop or invest in: if it's horizontal, they want to do it. If it's vertical, they don't. The best way to be immune from Microsoft is to pick a vertical software field (dentist office schedulers). Some of the biggest software companies have survived with no competition from Microsoft for this reason: AutoCAD, Quark, SAS, Adobe Photoshop come to mind.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Microsoft owns an antivirus: RAV.

huh?
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

WordPerfect was vertical until MS would dedice be "Horizontal". ;)

Joaquin Gracia
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

microsoft's photoshop is called visio


Tuesday, February 24, 2004

If you really think that Microsoft's Photoshop is Visio, then I have to ask - have you actually used *both* products?

Robert Moir
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

moir: I used both extensively.

To make it clear, I know what you probably mean. Photoshop is a bitmap based editor, while Visio is vector based. One for photo manipulation the other for 2d diagrams.

But I think that

Photoshop will move to vector based image manipulation (ok they have Illustrator), and Visio will try to add lot of bitmap features, just so we have nice items on the stencils.

Vision can go horizontal, they add a patient-xray stencil, a web service will load the bitmap from somewhere, then you will apply some photoshop like filters to make it nice ...


Tuesday, February 24, 2004

MS did try to make a Photoshop / PaintShop Pro competitor at one point.  It failed in the market and was included in some versions of Office.

Flamebait Sr.
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

I remember that MS did have a crummy AV with DOS 6, but at the time, there wasn't the web, so updates were hard to get, and the product was so limited that I guess it didn't continue to Win95.

Walt
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Yeah there Photoshop competitor got canned in 2000.  I was an intern at the time, and a friend of mine was working on the project (as an intern) when it was canned.  She was doing image stitching for it. 

Adobe's vector based product is called Illustrator.  No amount of overhaul of Visio would ever create Illustrator.  Visio is for relational diagrams.  Illustrator is for vector graphics.  Not even simmilar fields.  Visio just happens to use vecotr based graphics for its relational diagrams.  And no, Photoshop will always be bitmap based to address the digital photography segment.  You can now edit the RAW files that come out of today's modern digital cameras.  As long as images are composed on film or CCD there will be a photoshop.

Elephant
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

there = their... and correct any other typos, it's been a long day.

Elephant
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

"MS did try to make a Photoshop / PaintShop Pro competitor at one point.  It failed in the market and was included in some versions of Office."

Aww hell, what was the product called...  Image-something.  The first version of it was great (the second, less so).  It was no Photoshop but then I'm no artist.  I was very easy to use and I gave relatively good results.

I haven't seen it in ages -- but I could find it (might have the disk around somewhere) I'd install it again.

Almost Anonymous
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Looks like service pack 2 for Windows XP will have a built-in virus scanner.

Kevin
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Here is an operating system. That'll be $150.

Here is an application suite. That'll be $300.

Here is a virus program to protect you from flaws in the operating system and applicatrion. That'll be ... silly.

Ryan Tate
Tuesday, February 24, 2004

"The only cohesive theory of what Microsoft decides to develop or invest in: if it's horizontal, they want to do it. If it's vertical, they don't. The best way to be immune from Microsoft is to pick a vertical software field (dentist office schedulers). Some of the biggest software companies have survived with no competition from Microsoft for this reason: AutoCAD, Quark, SAS, Adobe Photoshop come to mind. "

Those of you who want to start small ISV's, pay attention to this passage.  ;)

Norrick
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

I read once that Microsoft only targets a market where revenues will be of the order of $1B. They're so big that anything less than that doesn't make sense.

That's good for the rest of us mortals, as we can live quite happily in the $1-10M markets.

Steve Jones (UK)
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Looks like Microsoft is trying out virus scanning in XP SP2.

http://internetnews.com/dev-news/article.php/3317211

Nigel
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Somewhere, MSFT published the idea that they wouldn't pursue an opportunity with less than $500 million in annual revenue potential.  That said, it seems to me that there are some smaller opportunities they pursue, usually they are strategic support things like Visual Studio/Visual Sourcesafe, but these are exceptions to the $500 million rule.

So, go for products (as a response to India) and do it in niches where the total market size is maybe $5 million to $50 million.  Oh, and don't do programming tools.

Jim Grinsfelder
Wednesday, February 25, 2004

"Oh, and don't do programming tools. "

I see this a lot, and then I look at what folks like Joel and Eric Sink, say, are doing.  So, why does everyone say not to do development tools?

I assume it's because the market is much smaller than it could be for a different app (the population of developers is much smaller than that of users)?  Or am I missing something else?

Rich
Friday, February 27, 2004

On one hand you have Microsoft's toolset which is already adequate for many, on the other hand you have all the free ports of Unix/Java tools, and on the third hand programmers just _love_ to make tools, so there's a huge number of free/cheap programming utilities already on the market. Oh, and that market isn't that big because too many programmers are both very conservative and very cheap in their tool preferences (e.g. using emacs and Cygwin).

Just way too much competition in a small market. If you already have some internal tool you might as well try to sell it for extra income but I would agree that this niche doesn't sound terribly profitable on the face of it. Marketing to enterprises might work better but then you'll have to sell to managers, not programmers.

Chris Nahr
Friday, February 27, 2004


Microsoft Image Composer was a great product... I remember making my website using that tool, back in '96 or so.

Leonardo Herrera
Friday, February 27, 2004

Microsoft does still produce image editing software (while it may not be at the level/pricepoint of Photoshop)

http://www.microsoft.com/PRODUCTS/info/list.aspx?view=22&pcid=2dbbcb25-faea-4722-91e0-a6016bb33a29&type=ctg 

Stesmo
Friday, February 27, 2004

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