Thursday, May 17, 2018

The story of how Microsoft ran itself into the ground: by Lofaday


The first lesson I learned about "dumb decisions" from Microsoft was when they trashed hardware access when upgrading from Windows 98 and ME. No one noticed that the decision instantly put many thousands of small businesses in trouble, mine included, because the hardware layer access in Windows 98 was the cornerstone of many industrial control systems. All of a sudden I found myself in dozens of meetings explaining to clients why non-NT was no longer made!
An entire Industrial rack mount computer industry was wiped out overnight. The millions invested in motherboard I/O (including printed circuit boards we developed), now wasted. The information systems I sold each meant many MS OS sales. MS didn't even seem to notice or care that their industrial usage arm was holed below the waterline. (Now, in industrial control solutions, Linux has taken over .. it could have been MS).
XP is a lot more stable, and indeed most NT based upgrades have been a considerable improvement, but it wouldn't have been rocket science for Microsoft to have added backward compatibility.
In more general terms, Microsoft need to learn "consistency consistency consistency". The ignorance and arrogance of Microsoft is bewildering if not epic. Ever since Gates left, they seem incapable of applying common sense. Someone in Harvard must have done a popular thesis on obsolescence because MS has adopted it as their mantra! They have abandoned VB6, XNA, SilverLight, Skype API, the original MS Office menus, VS Java, Foxpro, Access, .... Each time they do this, people jump out windows with their careers and businesses in tatters. But Microsoft are just psychopathic at times in their ability to ignore the plight of their own customers. At one point in W8, they even tried to get rid of the desktop! It beggars belief that they expected clients to sit at desks with administrative software running on something that looked more like a giant mobile phone than a desktop PC. Success breeds contempt!
A great story: Once there were two microprocessor giants, Intel and Motorola. Motorola had the best and fastest 16-bit chips and were set to dominate. Then they both decided to come out with a 32 bit chip. Motorola's was miles better than the Intel 32-bit device. Miles better! BUT Intel did something Motorola decided wasn't important... Intel maintained backward compatibility with their original 16-bit processes. Motorola BETRAYED their own client base. They just stuck up their middle finger and said "go back to school and re-learn". NOW -- how many people have heard of Motorola processors these days? And that's the same dumb mistake Microsoft make over and over again. "CONSISTENCY CONSISTENCY CONSISTENCY".
The lesson is that when people buy tech, they are making a decision to invest colossal amounts of time in experience in that tech. My customers used to demand Microsoft because they thought the bigger the company, the safer their investment. But now they are just confused. Even banks use opensource.
Once a company has shown a willingness to betray customer investment with gaay abandon, that company is dead. Teach that one in Harvard!
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