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Doug's Mailbag: Ribbon Rage, Where Microsoft Went Wrong

This week, some readers wrote to describe their eventual acceptance of the Office ribbon. But a few of you just aren't having it:

Hate the ribbon.

Hate it.

On Monday, Kurt (covering for Doug) reflected on Microsoft's dismal earnings report and asked where Microsoft went wrong. Here are a few ideas:

Where did Microsoft go wrong? Vista. Vista is for home users and people who do not want to learn how to operate a computer. Microsoft thought that businesses would follow. But Win 2000 was the last OS designed for business.

Based on the variety of users I have contact with (university users, small offices, home users), few today even consider an OS (or Office) upgrade as an option. They may get the new version when they get a new computer, but will never change the version on an existing computer. So Microsoft sales are tied very directly to new computer sales.

Where should I start? Well, first, one of my beefs is "site sprawl." There are SO many different MS sites that you can not only get lost, it has become impossible to find info. Even the KB is becoming useless. Now let's talk about PowerShell, the great new DOS on steroids. It may be a great tool, but to leave out the GUI counterpart is ludicrous! Then look at SBS, where MS really lost sight of small businesses. We used to run SBS premium on a P3 with 2GB of RAM. Now, with P4 quads, they want an edge server and a server for SQL, and they DIDN'T bring in the backup capability of Home Server!

Then, there are all the different directions: SharePoint, OneNote, Mobile, edge servers, virtual servers, etc. And along with having to keep abreast of that, there are new viruses, new hardware and a slew of new versions of programs. We are a small OEM shop, an Intel partner, and Microsoft isn't making it any easier to keep up.

Finally, a few more readers chime in with their experiences with Windows Home Server:

I have been using WHS since the early beta stages. My primary use is for remote access to files that I share with a number of users. Otherwise, I store items there as a secondary backup. I find this to be somewhat frustrating in use; I am often locked out of my own account, either using remote access or my computer sitting right next to the WHS (using the connector software).

I also have problems when downloading files (as do the other users). It will often stop mid-download. It does not seem to matter if the file is small or large. It has proven to be most useful streaming my music files using ORB.

I set up my family on WHS a year ago and it has been great for the automated backup, and restoring has been super easy. Just for that, it is worth it!

The home server is great! The single-instance automated backup is the best thing going for it. That alone is worth its weight in gold. The protected storage functionality is great, too (each file is stored on more than one hard drive, sort of like RAID 1 but better from a consumer point of view). There's also a lot of plug-ins available that will add all sorts of functionality. It's an awesome product.

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Posted by Doug Barney on 07/31/2009 at 1:16 PM


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