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How Microsoft Lost..: Andrew Shulman said it first

I'm not sure if Joel read this article, but Andrew Shulman, of "Undocumented Windows" fame, made many of the same points in 1996!

http://www.sonic.net/~undoc/catchup.htm

While the circumstances the article mentions are dated and perhaps even "quaint" (Microsoft worrying about catching up to Netscape... Ha Ha Ha!), the underlying themes are the same.; indeed, they have been recognized since shortly after the birth of the Web.

Joel's "no backwards compatibility any more" twist is just the final nail.

Portabella
Friday, June 18, 2004

Ha ha ha.

Ok "MS is dying" guys . . .  here's your morning dose of reality:
- Quit complaining about your "laziness" in not picking up the latest development methods over the past 3 years . . . quit using "oh, MS is going to die so I don't need to learn a new way of developing apps on the MS platform" as an excuse or the lovely "oh, MS is like a technology firehose lately and by the time I learn something, it's outdated" . . . since when has technology EVER stopped and waited for you?

Let me put it this way, Oracle will gurgle it's last death rattle LONG before MS rolls over . ..  do you guys have any idea how long $50B in cash goes nowadays?

I'm not saying MS is invincible, but if you're a MS-platform developer NOW, you will still be a MS-platform developer/manager/whatever by the time you retire.

Anon
Friday, June 18, 2004

"do you guys have any idea how long $50B in cash goes nowadays? "

further than it did in the 60's?

Quad
Friday, June 18, 2004

"Ok "MS is dying" guys . . .  here's your morning dose of reality"

Firstly, most fervent Microsoft defenders are overwhelmingly fearful that _THEIR_ skills we be relegated obsolete if Microsoft `loses', leading them in some perverted quest to defend Microsoft at any opportunity. I say this from an interesting perspective as my skills and experience are primarily in Microsoft technology, but my loyalty is to my employers, customers and technology partners, not Microsoft, and I'll go whatever way serves them best. I'll save the Calvin-pissing-on-Oracle bumper stickers for the morons.

Secondly, Microsoft having $50 billion in the bank means next to nothing -- already shareholders (the people who actually _own_ that money) are clamoring for greatly increased dividends because they think the money is worth more in their pocket than funding Microsoft's latest money sink venture, or to buy back shares (expect a many-billion-dollar share buyback shortly). Microsoft is additionally open, on many fronts, to multi billion dollar lawsuits.

Dennis Forbes
Friday, June 18, 2004

>I'm not saying MS is invincible, but if you're a MS-platform developer NOW, you will still be a MS-platform developer/manager/whatever by the time you retire.

No Sir,
Last year i had real problems finding a permanent job as windows/mfc/internet/com guy,
the ownly remaining sector was communications, so this year it's Linux,C++,tcp/ip,Shell scripts for me.

Michael Moser
Friday, June 18, 2004

"No Sir,
Last year i had real problems finding a permanent job as windows/mfc/internet/com guy, "

And that's because you haven't moved on ... I'm a VC++ guy loving every minute of my C# / WinForm development. Obviously, my VC++ / MFC skills are still quite valid on maintaining my legacy apps, but I am "moving on"...if your'e not, then you need to prove the .NET case to your company.

I know I'll constantly be moving on . . . In two years, I'll be a C# guy loving every minute of my Avalon (or, whatever is the next greatest thing) development . . .

I realized long ago that technology does not wait for anyone...it sure sucks my VC++, ATL and COM skills values are diminishing . . . but I have to admit, I love to create software nowadays moreso than I did when those skills WERE valued.

Anon
Friday, June 18, 2004

I don't claim to be a finance expert, but I suspect $50B would go faster than you'd think.

IBM is a good example of where MS could be heading. And IBM was a larger company, lets see...
IBM Revenue 1979: 22.8 B$ (or in today's money, about $60B)
Microsoft Revenue, last financial year: 35 B$

MS dropped the ball on the internet, but managed to pick it back up. Then Microsoft bet the company on Java (little known fact outside of MS, but I have colleagues who were there) and went too far. Today they have finally got it all together with .NET, which I quite like, but is it too little, too late?

Rhys Keepence
Friday, June 18, 2004

Thanks for pointing out this article!
If we don't learn from history, we are going to repeat it all over again.
Thanks! :-)

Dewd
Friday, June 18, 2004

Joel,

According to your logic, most technologies are stillborn.  And yet, most people aren't sitting on their hands waiting for the "golden" technology that will deliver them from the constant march of new technology.  A lot of these people actually enjoy that march.

I used to enjoy your articles, until it became mostly "oh look how hard it is to be a MS platform developer and run a business at the same time."  It is always hard to run a successful business, by definition.  It was your decision.  Maybe you should spend less time writing overly long articles, and spend more time with your code and new technologies.  That is, if new technologies matter to you, and they don't necessarily have to, since your applications will probably run relatively unchanged for a long time to come on future Windows.

Regards,
Yawning

Tim McDaniel
Saturday, June 19, 2004

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