Letters to Redmond

Microsoft: 'A Sinking Ship'

Readers ponder the reason behind Microsoft's general malaise. Plus, is print dead or alive?

Microsoft: 'A Sinking Ship'
In her December column ("Is Microsoft Too Old for Web 2.0?"), Mary Jo Foley asks if Microsoft is too old for Web 2.0. The answer is: Yes. Microsoft is not only too old for Web 2.0, it has lived up to its history once again by abandoning another market share. I've owned a small business since 1990, and for many years we've been involved with Microsoft in beta testing and deploying products.

Microsoft recently downsized or eliminated most, if not all, products related to small businesses-basically abandoning thousands, if not tens of thousands, of partners and end users. We used to sell and support Windows Small Business Server with Office to many businesses, and worked with larger partners to develop add-ins and promoted Microsoft products. As of two weeks ago, a large partner we work with on the aforementioned projects told us it "may have other avenues." This deployment to small businesses is now gone, eliminated by Microsoft with no consult to partners that I know of. We're embarrassed now. The conferences we attended, the trips to Seattle, the assurances we got, the money spent and so on ... All for what?

Furthermore, from bottom to top no one at Microsoft actually knows what's happening within the company. There's no common notion within the company that all products must work together seamlessly, before working with other vendors' products. Over the years we have met and gotten to know many Microsoft employees, and we're hearing some pretty bad stories from them about the company now: "Every employee for himself"; "Rats on a sinking ship"; "Not a community anymore."

Needless to say, we're no longer relying on Microsoft for any product for our company or our customers. We were in the planning stages for a full deployment of new hardware and software upgrades corresponding with Windows 7, Office 10 and new mobile deployments, but not any more. We'll be exploring new opportunities.

Web 2.0? By the time Microsoft gets around to it, it will be Web 3.0, but Microsoft will promise unyielding support for some catch-up version if you only spend twice as much money in "supported" software and time to figure out the bugs to deploy. Then once you get the bugs worked out that you spent time fixing, Microsoft will break the product using an update that disrupts one component and your whole "fix."

Apple will win the day because it knows how to market its products.

Name withheld by request
received by e-mail

Print: Dead or Alive?
In his Barney's Rubble column, Doug Barney recently posed this question to readers: "Do you still love print, or are magazines living on borrowed time?" ("TechNet Magazine Makes News," December 2009). Readers respond:

Magazine readers have developed a habit of reading information in print form. I'll bet magazines that move online are finding their readers are leaving for other alternatives in print. I'm an active participant in online forums and would likewise find that moving these to print from online would be about as intolerable-not only because they'll no longer be dynamic, but also because they aren't in the format I'm accustomed to. I will almost certainly remain a proponent of the print media.

Mark Ringo
received by e-mail

In Barney's column, he wrote: "What are you doing right now? Reading crisp, clean type on a nice white page, with no flicker or electromagnetic emissions." Wrong! I'm actually reading the Digital Edition download.

Most magazines are dead or dying because the information they print is out-of-date by the time it reaches the reader. Technology magazines are different to some extent, as the information is used for reference for some time. But with Web publishing of technology information, I don't see print magazines lasting much longer. Now, most people would just as soon go online to search for the specific information they want and skip over the rest.

Ronald Mason
received by e-mail

There's plenty of room for publishers willing to adapt. PDF is a great vehicle as a place to start, but book and magazine publishers have been slow to embrace the technology. Intellectual property rights are endangered far more by making it difficult for readers to access content they want than by rampant piracy.

C. Marc Wagner
Bloomington, Ind.

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