Quality-Control for Predictions in IT

The web is an interesting place. One can get up on the “soap-box” and predict. Later, others can replay the prediction and compare it with reality.

“According to Gartner, 94 percent of new PCs will be shipped with Windows 7 in 2011. By the end of the year, Windows 7 will become the leading operating system (OS) worldwide in the PC installed base, running on 42 percent of PCs in use, the firm predicts.”

The reality was that M$ shipped 200 million licences but 360 million PCs were shipped. By my calculations that’s 55%, not 94%. Oh, and NetApplications shows 38% of their hits are from “7”. Close, but no prize…

So, the monopoly is in trouble and Gartner should start looking “in the horse’s mouth” rather than just repeating M$’s prattle. Truth is that M$ has peaked on it’s OS-monopoly and is in decline. M$ cannot fool all the people all the time.

Gartner should check its predictions against real numbers. They are not even internally consistent. For instance they state that by the end of 2011, 635 million PCs were expected to have shipped with “7” since 2009. Do the maths. In that time, 2.25 years, about 780 million PCs shipped, meaning “7” replaced some 350 dead PCs and emerged on 285 million additional PCs, while another OS emerged on 145 million PCs. M$’s share is only 80% of PCs over that time, certainly not like 94% even lately. More likely the share has declined over time.

M$ is losing share to Apple, thin clients, OEMs shipping huge orders for GNU/Linux to governments and industry, and, of course, the mobile space. Nothing prevents that getting worse for M$. People love small cheap computers and the huge margins M$ has enjoyed do not fit in that space. People who have choice are choosing other products. Consumers often take what’s on retail shelves but they soon will have choice there as well.

In California, things are even more dramatic:

Here’s the sad story of “7”:

The trend is +1.2 percentage points per month. At that rate, it will take years to kill off XP in California and GNU/Linux will take over many of those remaining machines as they are converted to thin clients.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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56 Responses to Quality-Control for Predictions in IT

  1. Clarence Moon says:

    neglected to mention a little matter of exclusive dealing that M$ used to squeeze out Netscape …

    Well, I never “neglected” it at all, Mr. Pogson. I did not even consider it to be an issue. If you recall, the exclusive dealing charge was dismissed by Judge Jackson in the original ruling wherein he ordered the break up of Microsoft. Jackson found that the exclusive dealing charge was unproven and that Microsoft had not unlawfully excluded Netscape from access to enough of the potential market to trigger the antitrust regulations.

    What part of the “internal memo” do you disagree with? It says nothing malicious, I think. For example, “…they should make enough money that they will have sufficient incentive NOT to do things with our competitors…” and it goes on to note that simply being part of a lucrative and fair deal is preferred to any contractual commitment. That suggests to me that Microsoft was interested in a mutually beneficial partnership and nothing else.

    It is hard to find fault with that, I would think.

  2. Along the way, Clarence Moon neglected to mention a little matter of exclusive dealing that M$ used to squeeze out NetScape. M$ acknowledged internally that NetScape was a superior product and a threat, even if Clarence does not.

    Letter from NetScape to US DOJ:
    “…Netscape already has a browser that runs on Windows 3.1. It is attempting to bring a new browser to market that will run on Windows95 (“Win 95”).

    In order to complete the development of this new version, Netscape needs certain critcal technical information which might be called “internal APIs.” Netscape has been negotiating with Microsoft to get this information. As of June 21, Microsoft indicated it would not provide this information to Netscape unless Microsoft gets an equity interest in Netscape, a seat on Netscape’s Board of Directors, and otherwise controls Netscape’s ability to compete against Microsoft.”

    see M$’s internal memo.

  3. Clarence Moon says:

    I can see that you remain unconvinced of the validity of Microsoft’s position in these matters, Mr. Pogson. It is encouraging to see that you are studying about the laws involved. Now if you would just doubt your own wisdom slightly and give some credit to the justices sitting on the United States District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals, you might begin to see these issues in a different light.

    I think that you are somewhat handicapped from not having any apparent experience or even education in product marketing. You seem to see the world in a technoly view that is starkly black and white and you miss the wonderful shades of grey that soften the glare and enhance the actual view of things.

    If you were a good product marketer, you would see your customers as beneficiaries of your goods or services who contribute to your own well-being by paying you for them. Because of this mutually beneficial arrangement, they remain loyal to you and you to them and that streamlines all future relationships and makes the entire process even more productive for both.

    What does that mean vis-a-vis competitors? Generally speaking, nothing. Your focus is on your customers and their needs and how you can possibly inprove your service of those needs and so get even more revenue from them for the improved service that benefits them more than the previous.

    Since you are so successful, however, the competitor has a very difficult time in trying to enter or stay in your market area. If you are the best at what you do, the poor fellow does not have a chance. You have created an impossible barrier to his market entry. No one is looking for anything better than what you provide, so no one is willing to give any attention to him.

    That is the situation with Microsoft Windows today. You, like the frozen out competitor, see the market as being “locked in” or “non-free”, but that is only because there is no place for you being made by the one who owns that market. The antitrust laws do not recognize the dominance of a single supplier as an evil thing, they simply place some constraints on that enterprise to ensure that the leverage that the leader has normally is not unfairly wielded against a new product supplier.

    Pretty much that means that the new guy has to have a new product, though. It was thought that the browser, introduced by Netscape, was that kind of thing and would somehow provide competition to the OS. Now I am sure that you can see this, as did Microsoft and perhaps even Netscape, as something that wasn’t directly replacing another existing thing. The browser is an application that runs on an OS, of course, and perhaps it could marginalize the OS is some way based on the many sorts of plug-ins envisioned in those days.

    OTOH, if you think about it, the browser was just a logical extension of the OS and worked with the OS to facilitate network functions for the computer user. I think that Microsoft saw that potential and also realized the impact it would have on computer uses in the future. They knew they had to control that functionality in order to continue to be of complete service to their customers.

    So Microsoft first tried to partner with Netscape in a way that would let them keep control of the situation. Netscape demurred and so Microsoft was forced to develop IE. Naturally, Microsoft had a much better control of the situation and made IE a new piece of Windows. Netscape could not hang an OS on their browser, so they were out of luck. To use your own cute saying, it was Netscape “bringing a knife to the gunfight”.

    The malevolence in all this turn, I think, on whether there is anything wrong with moving to keep your customers to yourself. Does Microsoft have any obligation to “share” customer satisfaction? I personally think that they do not and would be maltreating their loyal customers to abandon their needs to another company regardless of how well the other company might be able to service them.

    You are not a developer, I know, but you should look into the vast array of functions that meld the traditional operating system functions with network accesses and so cross the lines between “browser” and “OS”. There is an essential efficiency in having interfaces that can reach into all the areas of the computer as well as reach out across the world to other computers. You could perhaps have some interfaces in the OS and some in the browser as was once proposed, but it is much more efficient and streamlined to have both in the single, unified API of the Windows OS.

    There may come a day when Microsoft’s customers’ needs are met with phones or tablets in some combination and there is no longer any need for a desktop or other form of conventional PC. But until then, I think that you can expect to see Microsoft evolving their product to cover their remaining customers.

  4. Clarence Moon wrote, “The final charges were extremely minor compared to the original and the case would never have been filed if the DOJ and states would have know of the eventual outcome.”

    The courts could have rejected the “settlement” that M$ wrote for itself and split M$ up. That was not minor and would have made the world a better place. The fines allowed in law at the time $10 million were totally inadequate compared to the magnitude of the crime. In 2004 the possible fine was raised to $100 million to reflect the enormity of what businesses like M$ can do wrong. Even that pales in insignificance to M$’s crime. see http://www.ftc.gov/bc/antitrust/antitrust_laws.shtm

    The change from “per se” to “rule of reason” is completely wrong, IMHO. M$ was wilful and knew what it was doing and went far beyond what any reasonable business would do to mess with competition. The US DOJ and the courts also were mainly concerned with NetScape which was a tiny drop in the bucket of M$’s sins. Many people did not do their jobs properly in order to come to the situation we have now where the market is having to claw back share from M$ the hard way.

  5. Clarence Moon says:

    You are mis-stating my post, Mr. Pogson, and you are mixing up the documents involved. The appeals court found Microsoft to be in violation of some sections of the Sherman Act as declared in Judge Jackson’s ruling. His Findings of Fact and Findings of Law were largely dismissed and the major portion of his rulings were either overturned or remanded back to the District Court.

    “Plea bargain” is a complete mischaracterization of the result and is not applicable to civil law. There was zero criminal content in the case from start to finish. None, zero, nada, nothing. Your attempt to characterize the case as something criminal is a gross error on your part and is deliberately unfair.

    It is factual to note that the court did not levy any fine and did not issue any injunction on Microsoft’s activities as a result of this case. The final charges were extremely minor compared to the original and the case would never have been filed if the DOJ and states would have know of the eventual outcome.

  6. Clarence Moon repeated the lie that M$ was not convicted of violating Sec 2 of the Sherman Act. The appeal upheld that finding of law and M$ bailed with a plea-bargain/settlement.

    That’s so tiring.

  7. Clarence Moon says:

    The violation of § 2 was upheld on appeal.

    Not really. Jackson’s finding that it was an operative maintenance of monopoly was substantially diluted by the appeals court finding that it was not. The actions by Microsoft were violations because they would have prevented a competitor from making entry into the market for x86 operating system software, but there was no viable competition and so the effort was ineffective and caused no damage to competition.

    Jackson’s Findings of Law were totally dismissed as flawed by the specific reversals of key elements and the remainder was remanded where it was finally adjudicated or else dropped in the case of the tying charges.

    It is pointless for you to rely on them as proof of anything since they have been found as invalid in the courts.

  8. aardvark says:

    Antique, non-legal sources are such a comfort, aren’t they?

    “The exclusive power, or privilege of selling a commodity.”

    Not the case with Microsoft, unless you consider Windows to be a commodity. I haven’t seen it traded on commodity exchanges recently.

    “The exclusive power, right, or privilege of dealing in some article, or of trading in some market.”

    No such exclusive power, right, or privilege ever obtained.

    “Sole command of the traffic in anything, however obtained.”

    Well, that’s fair enough. Microsoft have always had sole command of the traffic in distributing the Windows OS (amongst other products). FOSS, where the GPL applies, has sole command of the traffic in distributing Gnu/Whatever.

    Notice that the definition makes no mention of price or charges. At last we’re getting somewhere! Both Windows and Linux are monopolies!

    “As, the proprietor of a patented article is given a monopoly of its sale for a limited time.”

    And now we segue into patents, a different thing to the judgements of the DoJ et al. An interesting topic, but a different one.

    “Chartered trading companies have sometimes had a monopoly of trade with remote regions.”

    Personally, I regard Manitoba as a remote region, but apparently Microsoft haven’t quite managed a monopoly of trade there yet. I live in hope.

    “A combination of traders may get a monopoly of a particular product.”

    No such combination exists, or ever existed, in the case of Windows.

    You’re very fond of quoting large swathes of text, aren’t you, Mr Pogson?

    Why do you do this? Are you actually under the misapprehension that they prove anything at all, let alone the point at issue?

    I speak as a frustrated educator. It’s never too late to learn a better way of doing things, you know.

  9. Monopoly – ” The exclusive power, or privilege of selling a commodity; the exclusive power, right, or privilege of dealing in some article, or of trading in some market; sole command of the traffic in anything, however obtained; as, the proprietor of a patented article is given a monopoly of its sale for a limited time; chartered trading companies have sometimes had a monopoly of trade with remote regions; a combination of traders may get a monopoly of a particular product.
    [1913 Webster]”

    see http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/exhibits/1339.pdf OR Brent Schlender, Fortune Magazine, 1996-11-11

    “An oft-cited Gartner Group report estimates that companies must spend more than $6,000 a year on hardware and software upkeep for a $2.000 PC that runs Windows 95. CIOs are finding this mind-boggling sum harder and harder to justify, much less afford. So they are willing to try just about anything to push down those costs.

    At the same time, the lndustry’s two near monopolies — Microsoft with its Windows system software and Intel with its microprocessors — are leaching more and more of the profit from the PC business. Resentment has grown as profit margins have shrunk at companies like IBM, Apple, Lotus, and Borland. All would like nothing better than to take Microsoft down a peg. Customers, too, are Increasingly uneasy as the wintel duopoly threatens competition and product choice. At a recent FORTUNE-sponsored Internet conference In Chicago, several IT professionals said they were rooting for Java computing if only to keep Microsoft from being able to dictate corporate computing technologies and strategies.”

  10. ch says:

    Wait a moment, Mr Pogson, while I wade through all those qualifiers of yours:

    > M$ has a monopoly

    Really? And where?

    > in retail space

    Uh-huh. But?

    > in most stores

    Not in all? Some monopoly.

    > near where I live

    I see. So because you can’t get a machine with Linux pre-installed in every shop in the back of Canada, MS has a monopoly. Wow, you’ve just redefined what constitutes a monopoly!

  11. Court’s Findings of Law:
    “Upon consideration of the Court’s Findings of Fact (“Findings”), filed herein on November 5, 1999, as amended on December 21, 1999, the proposed conclusions of law submitted by the parties, the briefs of amici curiae, and the argument of counsel thereon, the Court concludes that Microsoft maintained its monopoly power by anticompetitive means and attempted to monopolize the Web browser market, both in violation of § 2. Microsoft also violated § 1 of the Sherman Act by unlawfully tying its Web browser to its operating system. The facts found do not support the conclusion, however, that the effect of Microsoft’s marketing arrangements with other companies constituted unlawful exclusive dealing under criteria established by leading decisions under § 1.”

    The violation of § 2 was upheld on appeal. How can they excercise monopoly power without having a monopoly? I equate “having monopoly power” with having a monopoly. There was no doubt about the existence of the monopoly. M$ priced its OS far above GNU/Linux for years without any concern about losing customers.

  12. Clarence Moon says:

    Court’s have ruled that M$ has a monopoly.

    Not at all, Mr. Pogson. They have ruled that Microsoft has monopoly power, legitimately arrived at, that limits their options in terms of contractual relations with other businesses based on how such contracts might prevent competition.

    Split imaginary hairs and supply your personal definitions and beliefs all you want, but the fact remains that Microsoft has never been faced with any criminal charges in all the litigation that has been conducted in the USA and EU. Never, not ever, at no time.

  13. M$ has a monopoly in retail space in most stores near where I live. They do not have a monopoly on retail space in China, Brazil, or Malaysia. ch’s demand is a great over-simplification. IT is a global market. M$ had a monopoly in most established markets but that’s rapidly crumbling. A big store I visit sometimes has a couple of square metres of retail shelving for smart phones and that other OS gets almost none of it. They have about 90% of the desktop/notebook/tablet space still. Judging from the local share and M$’s falling global share, there must be large portions of the world where the monopoly is gone.

  14. ch says:

    Mr Pogson, I’m starting to wonder if you might have a problem with your hands: It lokks like whenever you let your left hand do the typing, it tells us that MS has a monopoly (meaning, no other player in town) while your right hand tells us that a certain other OS you are advocating has 10% – no, 20% – no even more …

    Could you get your hands (or whatever parts of you are responsible) to agree on one version ?

  15. Clarence Moon wrote, ““monopoly”, which Microsoft does not have and never has had in their businesses”.

    The Court of Appeal:“We upheld the district court’s ruling that Microsoft violated § 2 of the Sherman Act by the ways in which it maintained its monopoly, but we reversed the district court’s finding of liability for attempted monopolization, and we remanded the tying claim to the district court to apply the rule of reason rather than the rule of per se illegality.”

    Court’s have ruled that M$ has a monopoly.

  16. Clarence Moon says:

    What is your evidence for that assertion?

    The FACT that such a charge was never filed. Had the DOJ deemed Microsoft’s actions to be a felony violation of the Sherman Act, they would have filed criminal charges, just as they have done in other cases where felony acts were observed.

    I think, based on your out of context postings of fragments of the Sherman Act, that you do not understand the legal definition of “monopoly”, which Microsoft does not have and never has had in their businesses. You use the term in a common sort of sense to mean “very strong market power” but that is not the legal definition of a felony monopoly.

    Consider the hopelessness of your position. If an anti-Microsoft conglomerate of the Clinton era DOJ and a variety of states eager to collect large sums from the huge and wealthy Microsoft did not pursue such litigation and gave them a free pass, what chance does anyone have to change that? The EU, also, only pursued some civil actions to fine them a billion or two in a much more rigorous action.

  17. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    I was going to follow ch’s method and search through the archives for your own predictions, but it seemed futile. Apply QA to them, and I expect a failure rate of close to 100%.

    Then again, I didn’t do the research, so I could well be wrong. Here’s a question. Have you ever once made a single successful prediction on this blog?

  18. Bad things happen in software. No one is saying they don’t in FLOSS. FLOSS is always fixable, by anyone, however. Only the creator can legally fix non-free software, and sometimes they don’t. We have seen vulnerabilities from Lose 3.1 in all versions up to “7”. That instils no confidence that paying someone gets them to do the right thing. FLOSS on the other hand lets the world know what everyone did to the code so one cannot hide behind layers of stuff as in the non-free world.

  19. Clarence Moon wrote, “it was a purely civil matter and criminal charges were never contemplated in the DOJ action”.

    What is your evidence for that assertion?

    “Section 2. Monopolizing trade a felony; penalty

    Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $10,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $350,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding three years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.”

    see http://www.stolaf.edu/people/becker/antitrust/statutes/sherman.html

    They weren’t charged with being impolite, but criminal in their behaviour. It was up to the court to determine whether imprisonment was appropriate, not US DOJ. Section 2 is about a felony, a crime ( 3. A heinous crime; especially, a crime punishable by death or imprisonment.
    [1913 Webster]).

  20. ch says:

    “Quality-Control for Predictions in IT”?

    Sounds like a good idea.

    BTW, I’ve just looked into your archive and found the one entry in March, 2008. It’s title? “Monopoly Ends in 2009”. Can we agree that this prediction is/was in need of quality control?

  21. Clarence Moon says:

    They could have been cleared. They weren’t

    You take my comment out of context, of course. What I said was that the findings of fact related to exclusive dealing, bundling, and monopoly leveraging, which were the meat of the DOJ case, were all, in the end, found to be legal activities and were not subject to any penalty nor to any injunctive action.

    The minor issues that remained were agreed to by the DOJ and most of the states in a negotiated settlement that was later imposed on the rest of the states. Had those been the only issues in the original case, it would never have been litigated to begin with.

    Also, it was a purely civil matter and criminal charges were never contemplated in the DOJ action.

  22. Ivan says:

    “Many eyes” did work, though.

    When Torvalds calls the people involved in the only project that claims to audit its code for security “Masturbating Monkeys” you have to question just how much those “many eyes” really care about security flaws they are shipping.

    And then something like this gets ignored and ya’ll have egg on your face when hyping how wonderful your security is.

  23. Clarence Moon wrote the nonsense about M$’s dealings before US DOJ v M$, “were totally legal in all respects”.

    If M$ was in the clear there was no reason for a “settlement”. They could have been cleared. They weren’t. Take a hint.

  24. Clarence Moon says:

    Clearly, US DOJ could have laid criminal charges. They should have.

    They did not, Mr. Pogson. Is that because you are correct and they were bribed by Microsoft to go easy or is that because you have no real concept of what the issues were about? You have to acknowledge that Janet Reno and staff are well-educated in the law and mostly rather eager to make their mark and notch their guns. The fact that they did not do so should be a clue that they deemed such actions unlikely to succeed.

    As it turned out, there was precious little that was found to be at all illegal. The exclusive dealing charges were dismissed in the original court action by Judge Jackson. The leveraging charges were dismissed by the appeals court and the bundling charges were dropped by the states and DOJ based on the conditions set by the appeals court in regard to how they had to be re-filed. The only charges remaining were the illegal monopoly maintenance charges that centered on such crimes as mixing IE functions with other OS functions in the shell DLL.

    You have posted excerpts from Jacksons Findings of Fact, but those findings were not necessarily any violation of laws and, as it turned out, were totally legal in all respects.

    Allow me to translate:

    “If you want to continue bundling Windows licenses with your computers, pay us for the licenses you have shipped previously and not declared in your reports.”

    IBM was cheating on their license counts, Mr. Pogson, surely you do not think they should have been allowed to do that and get favored treatment on new products to boot. IBM thought that they could extort such tribute from Microsoft and they were wrong.

  25. Clarence Moon avoided the issue entirely, that anti-trust law involves crime.

    “The United States Department of Justice alone may bring criminal antitrust suits under federal antitrust laws.”

    see Wikipedia.

    Clearly, US DOJ could have laid criminal charges. They should have. That they did not was a mistake. I doubt many juries would have found any reasonable doubt of their guilt. I could see all the top brass of M$ behind bars for years. Imagine what the world of IT would be like if M$ had been knocked off its rails a decade ago…

  26. People who wreck businesses are ordinarily called vandals. Vandals wearing suits are still criminals. It’s amazing to me that USA has spent much more effort going after terrorists and drug dealers than M$. M$ is as big an organization as any organized criminals and needs harsh treatment. If criminals went around to retail businesses and insisted that stores sell only M$’s wares, police would be all over them for RICO, but because they are M$’s salesmen they are allowed. It makes no sense. What M$ has done for many years amounts to extortion.

    see, for example, “IBM would like to complete the Windows 95 license by Wednesday in order to protect, in particular, your consumer business after Labor Day. As much as I would like to do the same, let me list the obstacles and propose a hopefully mutually agreeable solution:
    Because of the great discrepancies revealed in the recent software audit, we are of the strong belief that IBM and Microsoft need to complete the audit to Microsoft’s satisfaction before returning to business as usual and licensing additional software products to IBM. Unfortunately, due to the current timing, this could lead to a delay in our ability to conclude the Windows 95 agreement.”

    Allow me to translate: “If you want to continue in the PC business, pay us big dollars.” There is no business connection between the audit and a purchase being negotiated. That was extortion. IT’s exactly the same as a brute coming into a china store with a baseball bat and demanding money in exchange for the privilege of being in business.

  27. Clarence Moon says:

    Anti-Trust law is part of the criminal code in the USA, something M$ was convincted of. Calling M$ a criminal organization is an accurate statement.

    You could join Mr. Oiaohm in a lively session of who can make the most incorrect statements about the law in one post, Joe! But be advised that the anti-trust litigation regarding Microsoft in the USA, Europe, and a few other spots around the world were all civil suits and there were never any criminal conviction or even charges made regarding their actions anywhere.

    If you had paid attention to the teacher in your high school civics class, you would have known this. Or haven’t you had the course yet?

  28. Joe says:

    “Shady practices, yes. Nastiness, yes. All sorts of related stuff. But not a crime, per se.”

    Anti-Trust law is part of the criminal code in the USA, something M$ was convincted of. Calling M$ a criminal organization is an accurate statement.

  29. “Many eyes” did work, though.

    Of course, installation in the factory is common for non-free software’s malware.

  30. Some of them obviously are pretty thick…

  31. Conzo says:

    Robert: Those comments are NOT examples that ” suggest[s] that M$ innovates; still less that (consequently or otherwise) M$ deserves to dominate IT.”

    Not even remotely. How thick do you really believe your readers are.

  32. Lose 3.1 had no security whatsoever. XP was better after SP2 but not by much.

  33. A straight line in units in the market is a steady rate of production, without growth. It’s an indication that the monopoly is sick. That’s not an anomaly but thw way things should be if M$ were actually working for a living instead of enslaving the world. The normal course of things would be an exponential increase in units shipped until the next release if people were actually migrating units. They are not. They are buying new ones mostly.

  34. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    “It’s a reflection of the appetite of people for IT and the monopoly on retail shelves in many places.”

    Or on the other hand it is a straight line, starting from 10%, going through 40% in two years, and heading towards infinity (clearly rather a stupid projection, but if it were Linux, I’m sure you wouldn’t bat an eyelid).

    It’s a straight line, Mr Pogson. A straight line.

    Doesn’t that look like a statistical anomaly to you?

    It does to me.

  35. aardvark says:

    “D.G.: Pog, I never had malware. Not with XP, not with Vista, not with 7. Despite me using no anti-anything software of any kind. A little bit of common sense goes a long way.”

    [Mr Pgson] “I’ve had malware on Lose 3.1 and XP.”

    That’s not exactly an answer, is it? It look suspiciously like an admission of professional incompetence.

  36. Clarence Moon says:

    M$ innovates and deserves to dominate IT

    I think that you are reading too much into what is posted here, Mr. Pogson, and are misinterpreting the words because of your own bias. The comments you cite immediately above do not seem to me to support your claim.

    I do think that, whether or not Microsoft “deserves” to dominate IT, it is a fact that they do dominate a number of IT product markets where their products have become the standard of comparison. Most notably, departmental level servers, workstations and home computers, and office automation software.

    Being the standard of comparison does not necessarily mean that they are the best, but they are the most common by far and that is a fact.

    What they deserve is essentially the overall aggregation of a collection of incremental decisions that individuals make daily when deciding to buy or not buy one of their products or accept its inclusion in a package offered by some OEM. Microsoft has to influence that decision by reaching out and convincing the buyers that they are making a reasonably wise decision.

    You cannot deny that they have been very successful in terms of numbers of customers and total financial revenues in the product markets in which they offer their goods and services.

  37. aardvark wrote, “I’ve not seen a single comment that suggests that M$ innovates; still less that (consequently or otherwise) M$ deserves to dominate IT.”

    oldman :“All my applications work fine, and windows 7 x64 stays out of the way. And I give thanks that I dont have to patch together using different pieces of FOSS the functionality that I have now with windows based desktop applications.”

    Contrarian: “If you are just desperate to see Microsoft decline, then you will certainly get your wish if you can just live long enough. I would suggest that you need to plan for a couple of decades at least.”

    Contrarian:“The claimed advantages are reliability, security, and cost of unit performance, which have always been the criteria for this market. Notably, Microsoft has come to dominate this area. If the fact that they do not completely dominate satisfies you, then we can both be happy.”

    D-G: “Pog, I never had malware. Not with XP, not with Vista, not with 7. Despite me using no anti-anything software of any kind. A little bit of common sense goes a long way.”

    I’ve had malware on Lose 3.1 and XP. I don’t recall having it on the others because I did not put up with their poor performance for long. XP was the king of malware, IMHO. I think the record was close to 1000 items on one machine. Even after taking the trouble to delouse it, I could never make it work reliably without reinstallation. Conversion to GNU/Linux was far more efficient use of my time.

  38. aardvark says:

    “M$ deserves to dominate IT.”

    Not a single one of your readers has ever said such a thing.

    Do you, secretly, believe this insane fallacy yourself?

    An answer, please.

  39. lpbbear says:

    “Are you taking pirated Windows installations into account?If you intend to do the math correctly, you need ALL the figures.”

    And how exactly is that counted?

    Knock knock!

    “Hi Sir, sorry to bother you but we are conducting a survey. Can you tell us if you are running a pirated copy of Windows 7?”

    “You are! Well thank you sir, add another Mr. Pogson.”

    Perhaps the question could be….

    “Excuse me sir, have you replaced your original copy of Windows 7 with Linux?”

    nit picking…………

  40. aardvark wrote, of M$’s shipments of licences, “Is this slightly unusual numerical fact an anomaly of some sort?”

    No. It’s a reflection of the appetite of people for IT and the monopoly on retail shelves in many places. 75% of M$ sales of client licences comes from OEMs. Business still seems locked in to M$ and that was the main growth in PC shipments last year. The gravy train is ending however. Consumers can now get most of the benefits of a PC from a small cheap mobile computer and businesses are using more thin clients. Even if businesses stick with M$ they don’t need to upgrade a thin client nearly as often as a thick client. In Slovakia, businesses are keeping PCs an average of 4 years and some as long as 7 years. M$ will have to switch to per-user-per-annum to maintain revenue for business. Here, in Canada, Computers for Schools distributes cast-off PCs from government and large businesses. The machines I received in the last two years were 8 years old.

  41. aardvark says:

    I’m new here, but I’m beginning to descry a common pattern, Mr Pogson.

    “M$ innovates and deserves to dominate IT.”

    I’ve not seen a single comment that suggests that M$ innovates; still less that (consequently or otherwise) M$ deserves to dominate IT.

    “M$ has the best products and deserves to domintate IT.”

    There are occasional comments along the lines of “why pick Libre over MSO” or “Gimp doesn’t measure up to Photoshop,” sure. Never an all-encompassing statement that M$ has the best products. That would be silly. Apple still rules in some quite important domains. And Linux rules in supercomputers. Those are given facts. Your readers understand this.

    “M$ competes on price/performance and deserves to dominate IT.”

    Unless the whole of Western Civilisation and Free Market Economics is fundamentally broken, then I’m afraid M$ does.

    “M$’s crimes of the past don’t matter and M$ deserves to dominate IT.”

    Strictly speaking (and I know you’re a one for strict definitions of piracy and theft and copyright and so on), M$ is not guilty of a single crime.

    Shady practices, yes. Nastiness, yes. All sorts of related stuff. But not a crime, per se.

    “M$ does things the right way and M$ deserves to dominate IT.”

    A single supporting quote here, Mr Pogson, please.

    “The right way?” No. M$ simply operates successfully within the market-place. As do Apple. As does IBM. As do Google/Android.

    The pattern here (in case you haven’t spotted it) is the pointless tacking on of “M$ deserves to dominate IT.”

    Not a single one of your readers has ever said such a thing.

    Do you, secretly, believe this insane fallacy yourself?

  42. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    Like you, I am a big fan of numbers. Despite the naysayers, I think that numbers can tell us some quite interesting things.

    I am particularly interested in the graph you present under the comment “Here’s the sad story of ‘7’:”

    … which shows Windows 7 starting at 10% (slightly higher than Linux, under most industry estimates), and rising to 40% in two years.

    Even given the obvious fact that 100% is something of a ceiling, this is pretty impressive stuff. Projected over another two years, it means that Windows 7 will have 100% of the market.

    Except, of course, it won’t. These things work asymptotically, don’t they?

    Asymptotically, apart from your graph … which shows a straight line, over twenty four months of growth.

    Is this slightly unusual numerical fact an anomaly of some sort?

  43. Around here the M$-faithful tell us that:

    1. M$ innovates and deserves to dominate IT,
    2. M$ has the best products and deserves to domintate IT,
    3. M$ competes on price/performance and deserves to dominate IT,
    4. M$’s crimes of the past don’t matter and M$ deserves to dominate IT, and
    5. M$ does things the right way and M$ deserves to dominate IT.

    They fully expect the gravy train of software licences to keep rolling despite any efforts by FLOSS. I disagree. The world does not owe M$ a living. The world can make its own software without making any use of M$’s stuff. In 2011, we saw a few cracks in M$’s dam against competition but in 2012, the floodgates are open and by the end of 2012 the faithful will see the light. By 2013 or 2014, the world will obviously be quite a different place with M$ just another player instead of being the band-leader. I would prefer swift justice for all M$’s crimes but I will accept the eventual triumph of competition over monopoly in IT.

  44. Clarence Moon says:

    2012 will be a shocking year for the M$-faithful

    There are lots of things that affect markets, particularly mass markets such as personal computers. Things wax and wane and it is not particularly useful to just have something to cheer about or to cause personal vexation.

    What sort of person can be deemed a member of the “M$-faithful” anyway? Is it someone who owns a lot of MSFT and has financial risk/reward associated with Microsoft’s business? Is it someone employed in an industry that sells Microsoft Windows compatible products? Is it just anyone who might give some respect to the unique commercial achievements of Microsoft as a business initiative?

  45. I have disabled Akismet on the recommendation of the password-thingy. I hope that does not open the floodgates of Hell. Akismet has saved me from many thousands of spams.

  46. At the approach of Christmas, many retailers stock up on items but last Christmas PCs did not sell well so they had inventory that did not sell in that quarter. They will now sell those in this quarter with no need to pay OEMs or M$ as many licensing fees as usual. M$ will take a hit this quarter for machines that did not sell last quarter. It takes weeks for a PC to be manufactured, shipped and sold. M$ gets paid when the machine is manufactured if their OS is installed. 2012 will be a shocking year for the M$-faithful who had seen decades of never-ending increases in revenue.

  47. That will no doubt become a bigger problem with time especially on busy strands. I may have to look at another extension/plugin. Every couple of months the blog sets a new high for traffic. This is already the second highest month and we still have a week to go… Not that I am complaining, but I am not scaling well. Shortly, my gardening will demand more of my time.

  48. Clarence Moon says:

    but M$ was paid for the PCs that didn’t sell anyway

    Where are they then? Were they given away? Sent to the shredder? If they were not sold, they are still in some inventory somewhere.

    We have discussed the numbers of units many times before, Mr. Pogson, and, despite your belief that there are oceans of non-Windows PCs being sold, there is nothing in the trade press that mentions this, even though many other, less significant, conditions are continually reported.

    Surely you must be concerned about the total lack of corroboration for your theory.

  49. Clarence Moon says:

    I have periodically seen the password rejection message when it was obviously set correctly. It seemed to occur when I had a pending comment that I had not sent and had gone off to do something else. If someone posts a reply in the same topic after you started yours but before you sent it, that seems to happen.

  50. I am not accounting for licences not issued by M$. They are the source of the 50 million per quarter. Ballmer has stated illegal copies are ~10-15%, or about 5-7 million copies per quarter. That would increase the number of copies to 55-57million per quarter, about 60%, still tiny by M$’s standards for share.

  51. Yonah says:

    Are you taking pirated Windows installations into account?If you intend to do the math correctly, you need ALL the figures.

  52. I had that once when I tested the new system. I have used two different browsers lately and don’t see the problem. What browser are you using? It’s definitely not something I am causing consciously. The SPAM problem is real. It seems almost random.

  53. oldman says:


    I have attempted several times to post an answer in another thread only to be dumped out with the type the password prompt, even after I have typed it in.

    This is either a very nasty bug in what you are using, or a particularly cowardly way of silencing critics.

    Which is it?

  54. Clarence Moon wrote, “Microsoft had $20 billion in revenue from Windows client division the past year and it is widely believed that they get some $50 for a copy of Windows 7 Premium and somewhat less for Home and Starter.”.

    $20 billion/$50 = 400 million, more than PCs shipped so $50 is clearly too low a number and/or the $20 billion is too high. Don’t forget they get revenue from other than new PCs from OEMs: retail sales and educational and business licences. The up-selling of that other OS gets much more than $50. In any event, M$ has bragged how many licences for “7” they have sold.

    July 11, 2011 – 400 million licences.

    September 13, 2011 – 450 million licences.

    December 7, 2011 – 500 million licences.

    Do the maths and you get 50 million licences per quarter recently. Nine quarters to reach 500 million is a bit more, 55 million per quarter. They are slowing a bit. We expect the next quarterly report will show a considerable decline in revenue for the client division. The last two quarters averaged $19 billion revenue and the net was down. Christmas sales were way down but M$ was paid for the PCs that didn’t sell anyway. This quarter, M$ will share the pain.

    HP “personal systems” was down 15% y/y their last quarter.

  55. Clarence Moon says:

    The reality was that M$ shipped 200 million licences but 360 million PCs were shipped. By my calculations that’s 55%, not 94%. Oh, and NetApplications shows 38% of their hits are from “7″. Close, but no prize…

    Well, your figures could be wrong, Mr. Pogson. Microsoft had $20 billion in revenue from Windows client division the past year and it is widely believed that they get some $50 for a copy of Windows 7 Premium and somewhat less for Home and Starter. So, including the effect from site license sales to big corporations, the individual count is well over 300 million units. Furthermore, the hit counters include cell phones and tablets, so the percentage of PCs is likely even higher than the 42% predicted.

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