Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Who are Microsoft's Competitors?

These days it seems that Microsoft simply can't keep up with the competition, though I think they've simply been making too many enemies recently.

I suppose that if I were to compile a list of the top competition for MS, it would look something like this (in order of danger);

  1. Google

    All those little niche things and web applets are really starting to take their toll. Google's desktop search is much better than the Microsoft Windows search and it beat their new search engine (coming real soon - on day - sigh) by a couple of years. Google's Gmail is heaps better that hotmail and beat the Windows Live Mail service (almost live now - sigh) by over a year.

  2. IBM (including Lotus)

    One of the worst things that Microsoft has done lately has been to annoy IBM as it has caused them to embark on a series of quite damaging "Move to Lotus" and "Move to the Penguin" campaigns. IBM is the second largest software developer in the world (after Microsoft) and their Lotus Product suite beats anything Microsoft has, hands down. Anyone who has been to any IBM roadshows recently can see that they have a clear direction and that they're focussing on a single-suite approach. This is clearly better than the Microsoft alternatives which all seem to involve about 5 servers to do what is basically a single job. I think it's also worth mentioning DB2 here, as IBM have lately started putting a bit more push behind this product.

  3. Open Source Linux and OpenOffice Alternatives

    Open source has long been a thorn in Microsoft's side, and some would say Linux is the worst of the problems. I would say otherwise. Linux is, unfortunately, still not as user-friendly or install-friendly as Windows and I don't think wholesale industry adoptation of the environment is going to happen for a while yet. OpenOffice, on the other hand is quite dangerous. I saw some really interesting statistics recently - a comparison of people committing to a Windows Vista upgrade compared to people committing to an office 2006/2007 upgrade.

  4. Microsoft

    Microsoft are in the top competition for themselves because they keep shooting themselves in the foot. Good examples include; Releasing relatively untested patches, needing patches in the first place, constantly revising published delivery dates (don't they use MS Project there?), making stupid remarks about competitors "I've never seen such as customer base waiting to be plucked" - Well, I for one am quite offended by the thought of being "plucked".

  5. Security Watchdogs and Semi-Official Bodies

    I know that these people all mean well, but by constantly pointing out Microsoft's unpatched and vulnerable systems, the likes of the Gartner group and the various incident repsonse teams around the world are really not doing Microsoft any favours. How many times have I seen them say - "the workaround is to use an alternative browser, such as firefox, until Microsoft fixes the problem"

Sure, there's plenty more competition, but I didn't intend to write this article on MS Competition, I really wanted to draw attention to a new google feature - oh well, I'll save that one for next time.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Here there be Dragons...

Recently an old keyboard overuse injury has flared up again. Aside from the the exercises that I need to do to overcome it, the other thing that seems to be helping is that I have installed Dragon simply speaking.

I remember trying out an IBM product called "VoiceType" some years back. That product was quite good although it did tend to confuse my voice with that of the dog. Strangely enough, it would never listen to anything my wife said - possibly a bit like myself :-)

At the time I installed Dragon, my hopes weren't very high. I figured that if things had changed drastically in the industry, I would know about it.

Dragon still isn't perfect, but people can come up and bother me at work and their words are not recorded. I still need to correct Dragon quite frequently, but it gets it right more often than it gets it wrong.

I'll post and update after I have been using the software for a bit longer but you may be happy to know that this blog was written using the software.