Friday, April 24, 2009

The Rise and Fall of the Microsoft Empire

CNN reports on the recent difficulty faced by Microsoft, a difficulty they've not experienced in their entire 23-year history.

Microsoft Corp. said Thursday that declining PC sales hurt revenue, as the software giant reported quarterly sales that fell for the first time in its 23-year history as a public company.

The company has had a difficult time combating slumping demand for its Windows operating system, as the economic slowdown has dragged PC sales down 7% to 9%, according to Microsoft's estimates.

In January, Microsoft announced its first mass job cuts in its 34-year history in an effort to bolster its bottom line The company slashed 1,400 position during the quarter with another 3,600 expected to be cut by mid-2010. At that time, the company said it was also adding a few thousand positions, mainly in its online advertising division.

Do you raise a silent cheer at reading a story like this? Are you one of those iconoclastic types who roots for the downfall of the leader, especially one which has monopolized the market like Microsoft? Do you like companies like Google, Amazon and Yahoo, who although they aren't in direct competition with a software giant like Microsoft, represent the underdog, the come-from-behind, more tenacious competitor?

One area in which they do all compete is advertising. Even there, poor old Microsoft is taking a beating.

Microsoft has also continued to struggle to compete with rivals Google and Yahoo in the online advertising business. Microsoft's Online Services division, which includes the online portal MSN and its Internet advertising sales, lost $575 million in the quarter, and sales in the division were down 14% from the same quarter a year earlier. Microsoft said the loss in its ad sales division was due to the significant decline of average rates in display advertising.

What's your opinion? What operating systems and IT products have you used? I myself have used almost exclusively Microsoft products. It just went that way, not so much by design, but more by default. I guess that's what a monopoly is all about.

Please leave a comment.


  1. I remember back in 1998 while working for the defense industry that the company used Netscape internet browswer because it was more secure than IE. That was my first lesson in how most Microsoft products are inferior and over rated.
    One aspect of the monoply of Microsoft most readers are not aware of is that the national security state agencies like the NSA install monitoring software on computers using Microsoft. You really think all those "security Updates" are really related to the Operating System. If you were the NSA or the CIA and the majority of your populaiton was using a certain operating system, it would be a no brainer to install your software on that OS.Ever wonder why the anti trust legislation never went through the state attorney generals were presuing against MS? Old Bill Gates probaly told them that if the government pushed him, he might release some information on the net about the NSA and those security updates.
    The danger of a software monopoly in the 21st century is becoming all too clear. I for one use
    VLC media player,Mozilla Firefox, and will get an Apple when I need a new computer.
    Like any greddy corporation Microsoft should have stuck with products it was good at like the Office suit of products.

    Any person familiar with the hostory of B. Gates will know he back stabbed Steve Jobs and gained market share over Apple which is a better product.
    While it is good to see the top dog get taken down a few nothches, the title of your posting may be a bit premature.

  2. You are aware there are these pieces of software called Mac OS, and Linux, right?

  3. We have reached a point where for for almost all uses, Microsoft isn't necessary, unless you have a legacy of Windows-only custom applications. Ubuntu Linux is astoundingly good, especially if (like Windows) the hardware is selected to work properly with it. Apple is even better, at only a slight cost penalty over Windows.

    It isn't the monopoly itself that bothers me, or love of the underdog, it is the well-documented abuse of Microsoft's monopoly that I object to most. I also think that both diversity and objective standards are good.

    I've been using some form of Linux as my home OS for about 5 years, starting with Mandrake before it became Mandriva, switching to Ubuntu when I got this computer 2 years ago. Mandrake was arguably ready for regular people to install and use, Ubuntu is certainly ready.

    With hardware getting cheaper, this makes even more difference. When a typical computer cost more than $1000, the price of the OS was almost trivial. When hardware starts in the $200 range, adding Windows with no other software is about a 50% price increase. Linux still makes sense when you are stuck buying a computer with Windows installed, because the free software for Linux is far better than the typical bundled software on an inexpensive Windows machine.

  4. I read this after an evening of trying to fix my nephew's laptop. Words cannot describe how much I hate Vista.

    Wonder if my nephew will notice if I put Linux on it???

  5. But, is Ubuntu / Linux easy enough to use? I love their philosophy about free software and all that, but unfortunately I have my limitations when it comes to technical troubleshooting. What do you Linux users think?

  6. Ubuntu is different, but not harder than Windows. It is easier to install, and in many ways easier to maintain--you don't get spyware or viruses.