Growth, or Lack of Growth

Forbes has an article about M$ stalling, not growing. We know their revenue is actually growing but it is passive, waiting on a ramp up in sales of PCs. Actually personal computers are as popular as ever but they are switching from x86 to ARM and getting smaller and cheaper, even hiding in keyboards and smart phones. The thesis is that M$ has missed the boat in mobile and plans on the table are too little and too late.

see Forbes – Why Not All Earnings are Equal; Microsoft has the Wal-Mart Disease

TFA is mostly about investment but it touches on the waves of technology. M$ has created a cash-cow for “PC”s but cannot transfer that monopoly to new technology because they have no lock-in on technology that is already widespread and growing rapidly. There is no IBM granting them a monopoly on the PC. Google is not going to sell out to M$. ARM is not going to sell out to M$. Nokia seems to have sold out but they will experience the stall together. The software-patent suits are defensive. The proliferation of “partners” is defensive. The huge investments in R&D is very inefficient, defending the last decade’s technology. M$ has taxed that so hard that the industry is moving on to FLOSS on ARM to avoid the tax. Nothing M$ can do will bring back the monopoly. This year is likely the end of it. The world is exploding with new technology but none of it comes from M$.

I know there are commenters here who believe M$ saved IT by providing a unified platform everyone could build on but that is an illusion. M$ stifled the market for more than a decade and contributed little to the growth of it. Taxes do not stimulate growth. The $billions spent on M$ went into a bottomless pit never to be returned to IT. Now the world has moved on and will create its own IT much more efficiently. I like it.

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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6 Responses to Growth, or Lack of Growth

  1. twitter says:

    Look there, an attempt at intimidation and an attack on the messenger at the same time. You will do better, Yonah, by dealing with the topic at hand rather than the messenger.

    The demise of the PDA market involved many companies besides Palm. There was Handspring, Sharp and just about everyone else. Handspring made the first smartphone as a module for the Visor and went on to make the Treo, which was dearly loved by many. Sharp made the Zaurus, which used gnu/linux to provide basically everything iPhone later became, sans phone. You might argue, unconvincingly, that Palm software sucked but I never had a problem with it outside of Windows upgrades. In fact, they were well documented enough that KDE and other free software did an excellent job of syncing them. Did every one of the PDA producing companies also provide software that sucked? The only thing they all had in common was a reliance on Windows and Microsoft shoving them out of the retail channel in the same way Microsoft sabotaged netbooks and is trying to kill Android. It was just as blatant then as it is now.

    Tying these things together is something of a hobby, thank you. I could probably pull the story out of Comes material like I’ve already done for gnu/linux at Walmart and “network computing.” A google search of “ Xandros” or the same for Asus will find some of the research I’ve helped done to prove Microsoft manipulation of the netbook market. Microsoft lies offend me enough to spend substantial time debunking them but I have other plans for the weekend.

  2. Alex says:


    in 1988 I briefly toyed with Toshiba MSX-2 machines that had a 16 color screen, 3-way MIDI synthesizer, and tons of games making for a great home multimedia/game system. They went nowhere, to be replaced in a few years by monochrome PCs with the uninspiring MS-DOS and a 3cent speaker that could not do crap in terms of music effects. That was a huge step down in my book.

    8-bit machines were generally easier to program because they were essentially microcontroller processors used to power a cheap video game system. They were fun to program. They were replaced by x86 microcontroller systems playing the role of a glorified typewriter. Wintel since then conspired to extend the glorified typewriter to everyone’s home, which they succeeded.

    So, yes, the grass was greener in 1988 than in subsequent years up to now. The wintel cabal is still hobbled by their typewriter past and enterprise, business-only purpose, making x86 dull and uninspired.

    Now Android and tablets remind me of the 80s. Which is good. We used glorified typewriters for too long.

  3. Yonah wrote, “Microsoft didn’t kill the fun in computing”.

    Ever heard of embrace, extend, extinguish? M$ has killed lots of useful stuff just to kill the competition behind technology. Instead they gave us ever-higher prices as a fraction of the cost of a PC, re-re-reboots and malware. None of that is fun. The first DOS licences were $20 or so, almost nothing, in the price of a $1k+ PC. Now that other OS costs consumers $100+ on a $300 PC. That other OS costs the world $billions in re-re-reboots and malware fighting, fixing, scanning and re-installations, not to mention phoning home. None of that is fun. Some people do enjoy long boots and logins while they fix their coffee but that’s just parallel processing to cover the weakness of that other OS.

    GNU/Linux on the other hand is so flexible and reliable that it is a lot of fun whether one just wants to use it or do new things with it.

  4. Yonah says:

    Oh brother! Pick any computer hardware or software company that flopped and Mr. Hill (aka Twitter) will connect it back to Microsoft in some diabolical way. One of his hobbies, I guess. I had a Palm TX, one of the last models available. They were cool but a real niche device for those like me who never had a need for a laptop but wanted something more powerful than mobile phones at the time. Palm had several problems in my book. First their Palm Desktop software was really bad. I had to reinstall it on several occasions. Linux users here will blame that on Windows, but the fact is all my other programs never need to be reinstalled. Second, the hardware itself wasn’t the most reliable. From broken power buttons to failing touch screens, I expected a higher quality product for the price they were sold for. Third, aside from storing phone numbers, notes, and other small pieces of data, it was too slow and cumbersome for web browsing, picture viewing, multimedia, or games.

    My friend had a WinCE device at the time and even I had to admit it was much cooler. Microsoft didn’t kill Palm. They killed themselves with expensive, uninspiring products that got left behind in the smart phone race. I still use my Palm TX as an alarm clock for novelty purposes. Blaming Microsoft is a red herring.

    Alex, Microsoft didn’t kill the fun in computing. You just fondly remember the past because it’s part of your past. Everyone has a story about the good old days. For those who remember, computers in the 80s were fun because they were a new hobby that few people understood. Also an expensive one, with thousands of dollars poured into hardware that ended up dead as a doornail (i.e. Texas Instruments 99/4a). Now they are everywhere and there is a whole lot more variety and possibilities now than there ever were in the past. Video may have killed the radio star, but you can’t blame that on any one thing. Time marches on, don’t let age turn you bitter.

  5. Alex says:

    Rob, thanks for an insightful article. And I think Twitter is probably right… Microsoft likes to kill other products that endanger its monopoly, it has done it before, first with directly competing products, and later, with anything that posed a remote danger to its cash cows.

    I remember the 80s, so much fun there was in computing, all but gone by the mid 90’s. I blame Microsoft for that. Now it’s all about bland cookie-cutter hardware boxes, and enterprise crap coded by untalented guys working in factory-like conditions, and let’s not forget tons of virii and rootkits just waiting to destroy your windows system. Boring and annoying and time-wasteful. A shame.

  6. twitter says:

    Microsoft did not miss the boat on mobile platforms, it attempted to dominate and killed the platform ten years ago and wants to do it again and again. Microsoft killed off Palm by suckering them into a PC centric strategy only to later unleash a flood of horrible Microsoft branded PDAs that killed the market for everyone. “Security” upgrades for Windows killed Handspring sync at the big dumb company I worked for at the time. Mysteriously, PDAs that did not run WinCE vanished. People at Techrights properly chronicled the destruction of gnu/linux netbooks and now all eyes are on Android. Before there were netbooks and PDAs, Microsoft partners had made “ultra mobile” laptops, which were ARM based netbooks which Microsoft studied without issue. Microsoft can not afford to have “PCs” go the way pocket calculators went.

    Software freedom is the real unifier of platforms. Debian GNU/Linux, for example, runs almost exactly the same software on a dozen hardware architectures, from ARM to supercomputer. Restricted software only divides people and wastes their effort. Microsoft’s monopoly never extended beyond x86 but the company destroyed many fine companies. Sometimes with moles like Belluzzo and Elop. The only thing Windows users can be sure of is that the next version will waste more of their time, money and effort.

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