Letters to Redmond

Letters@Redmondmag.com: October 2006

Is the Redmond staff just a bunch of crybabies? One reader thinks so. Plus feedback on Microsoft's appetitie for competitors and more 3Com switch woes.

Some Cheese with Your Whine?
How about an article on how the qualifications to be a staff writer or editor for your magazine seem to include being a whiny crybaby about Microsoft? After reading Redmond for a year or so, my conclusion is that with you people no matter what Microsoft does ... it will be wrong. You're not really an independent voice. You're just a blathering, childish voice complaining about anyone more successful than you.
Andy Fralic
Fenton, Mich.

All Things Being Equal …
In Doug Barney's column [“Glutton for Market Share,” September 2006] he says that Microsoft used to behave properly in the market place and now it doesn't. I beg to disagree.

Microsoft's behavior is the same: It tries to conquer all. Barney judged this as acceptable during the time that Microsoft was the underdog. Nowadays, when Microsoft is a behemoth, he seems to think that the very same attitude is no longer proper. How so?

Microsoft is on top because it's very good at what it's doing. What does it have that its competitors do not? Money? Nope, venture capitalists continue to pour money into dumb ideas. Brilliant minds? Hardly, as a lot of bright people are choosing to work for other companies big and small. Political support? No way -- who else was hit globally as badly as Microsoft in the entire IT history? Public sympathy? I wouldn't know, but I've had friendly arguments with people who aren't in love with Microsoft and I've always been in the minority.

Of course Microsoft wants to maximize its market share. Isn't it the corollary of any company's goal of maximizing profits? I bet that its competitors, including the niche companies, want that as well.

I think Barney has a point in saying that monopolies can control prices, but people want to buy Microsoft. Even when there are cheaper or even free alternatives, even when the governments mandate, encourage and force people to buy or use something else, people continue to buy and pirate Microsoft products. Why? Because from the users' perspective, Microsoft's products are better.

All other things being equal, why would I buy something that I perceive as inferior? Because it's from the underdog in the respective market? If I did that, my boss would start asking questions.

Don't base your buying decisions -- indeed any business decisions -- on ideology. You'll probably incur bigger costs and diminished returns and you'll be fired or go bankrupt.
Daniel Drumea
The Netherlands

Stop Looking at Me
What's up with so many pictures of Stephen Toulouse's head in the August 2006 issue? I love your magazine, but how many pictures can you have of the same guy staring at us? It's kind of weird.
Michael Brown
Mobile, Ala.

Empathetic Reader
We had a similar issue with 3Com switches (Baseline 2226 Plus and another, larger one, but I can't remember the model) not holding their configurations after power going out [see the August 2006 reader-contributed Never Again column, “Virtual Panic”]. They didn't hold anything: IP addresses, VLANs, name, location.

The backed up configuration didn't restore the VLAN info or anything else. The latest firmware revision Readme mentioned the backup option being fixed, but we still had issues after installing this version.

After calling 3Com and explaining what was going on, they RMA'd all five switches with no problems. Apparently they got a bad lot of EEPROMs that failed to hold the configuration after loss of power. It seems hard to believe something like that would make it through QA/QC either at the supplier or at 3Com, but in the end, after several frustrating rebuilds of VLAN configurations, we are back on a solid footing.
Joel Havenridge
Omaha, Neb.

About the Author

This page is compiled by the editors of Redmond magazine from your letters. Write to us at letters@redmondmag.com and if your letter is printed in the magazine, you'll be entered into a drawing for a free Redmond T-shirt.

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