10 amazingly stupid things the 'experts' will try to tell you about Microsoft

10 amazingly stupid things the 'experts' will try to tell you about Microsoft

Summary: In Silicon Valley (and in media satellites that take the NoCal mindset to New York and beyond), everyone has an iPhone, a MacBook Pro, and a Gmail account. Microsoft products and services might as well be from Mars. So be skeptical when you read analyses or predictions of what's coming next from Redmond.

TOPICS: Microsoft

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  • "Everyone hates Microsoft Office"

    Pick a whipping boy – Excel, Outlook, Word, or PowerPoint. Especially PowerPoint. In a few short searches you can find unbridled hatred for any one of those products, usually from someone in Silicon Valley who was forced to run one of those reviled programs on their MacBook Pro and did so with teeth clenched the entire time.

    The reality is that more than a billion people worldwide are running Office today. As someone who has been documenting the development of Office online for roughly two decades, I can tell you that the latest version of Office has some mind-bogglingly awesome features. If you’ve ever seen the charts I produce as part of posts like this one and this one, you know Excel’s capable of spectacularly strong infographics. I’ve tried doing the same thing with free, Open Source alternatives. No offense, but the results simply can’t compare.

    And those same limitations are found across the board in the other apps that compete with modern Office apps. Let's face it: Microsoft works its tail off improving Office. Your average Silicon Valley tech journalist might despise Office, but those of use who use it to get actual work done beg to differ.

    In fact, those billion people have had free alternatives for years, and yet they keep paying for Office. I’m sure Yogi Berra would have had a snappy way to explain that phenomenon, just as he once dismissed a popular restaurant by saying, “No one goes there any more. It’s too crowded.”

  • "Internet Explorer is a buggy, incompatible mess"

    At some point you have to let go of the past. The Web Standards Project, which was founded in 1998, did exactly that in early 2013, saying “Our work here is done.”

    When The Web Standards Project (WaSP) formed in 1998, the web was the battleground in an ever-escalating war between two browser makers—Netscape and Microsoft—who were each taking turns “advancing” HTML to the point of collapse. You see, in an effort to one-up each other, the two browsers introduced new elements and new ways of manipulating web documents; this escalated to the point where their respective 4.0 versions were largely incompatible. … The WaSP’s primary goal was getting browser makers to support the standards set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).


    Thanks to the hard work of countless WaSP members and supporters (like you), Tim Berners-Lee’s vision of the web as an open, accessible, and universal community is largely the reality. While there is still work to be done, the sting of the WaSP is no longer necessary. And so it is time for us to close down The Web Standards Project.

    Indeed, as someone who uses Internet Explorer 11 as my primary browser day in and day out, I can count on one hand the number of times each month I run into a compatibility issue. And 9 times out of 10 that issue arises because some Web designer with a chip on his or her shoulder has coded the site to fail when it detects Internet Explorer.

    Hating on Internet Explorer 6 was a perfectly reasonable thing to do in 2008. But that relic of the early Web is dead and buried. Let it go, people.

  • "Bing is a money-losing flop"

    This one stems from a fundamental misconception, that Bing (the search engine) is a direct competitor to Google (the search engine).

    That might be the most obvious manifestation of these incredibly rich data-driven services to a casual observer (which accurately describes most of the pundits thumping the table for a Bing spinoff). But there’s a helluva lot more to Bing than just web search.

    My colleague Mary Branscombe has done a much better job of explaining the role of Bing than I could. She explains, “At heart, Bing (like Google) is a huge machine learning system.” And key to that system is Bing’s engine for understanding what information is about, called Satori. She then goes on to list all the things that Satori powers:

    Satori is a huge collection of entities: People, places, events, businesses, objects and the relationships between them. A movie is an entity; so is are the actors who are in the movie, so you can see that James Spader was in Stargate, and then jump to a list of his other movies. Bing knows that Yosemite is a place, so it has weather, and a national park, so it has opening times. Satori is what Bing can use to find tweets and Facebook posts from your friends about the movie you're searching for when you look at show times. If you want to show the right information to the right person at the right time, understanding that information is vital.

    Satori and Bing are behind the new Smart Search in Windows 8.1 that shows you your own files next to results from the Web. Looking for the contract you need to sign this week with a partner might be a good time to see their share price and any recent news stories about them. Imagine all the other information that could include in future; search for the document you need on SharePoint and see what colleagues have said about it on Yammer without having to remember to go look on Yammer.

    Bing drives the new version of the Windows Store in Windows 8.1. It’s behind Kinect and the amazingly accurate predictive keyboard in Windows Phone.

    But more important than any of that, Bing is a counterweight to Google. In the present and even more so in the future, being able to combine, collate, and present information is a core feature of any computing device. If Microsoft gets out of the search business, it effectively hands over monopoly power to Google. That will not end well.

Topic: Microsoft

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  • Be nice

    Trolls will be persecuted.
    Ed Bott
    • Exceedingly Well Written

      Excellent one Ed. For someone who has partnered with Microsoft, and profited and benefited from it, I raise both my hands and applaud. A lot of people, even in the tech world talk about MS and Windows in the same breath. Though partially correct, MS is an ecosystem, one which has touched and influenced every tech worker in his life. It has meant betterment for a whole lot of have-not's, and yes in the process profited Microsoft and its share holders. But hey, Microsoft is in business, and increasing shareholder value is a key driver, yet if you can touch the amount people that MS does, directly or indirectly, they are always dished a raw deal.
      • Ditto

        • The ABMers are making shill votes again...

          Seeing how Ed has 63 flags, kark has 18, and daikon has 12, I think it's time to start persecuting some trolls.

          It's pathetic when you think about it, really.

          They want others to think they're the majority, so they falsify their votes with fake accounts and/or exploits.

          I have no problems with someone being an ABMer, but when one of them does something like this, it just makes all of them look stupid and immature.
          • Umm... What's an "ABMer"?

            Too much jargon.
          • ABMer

            Is I think a term for anyone who dares to say or have an opinion that is anyway critical of Microsoft. I cant find reference to it by a quick searching of acronyms online, so I guess it is something made up by the MS fanclub...
            The Central Scrutinizer
          • ABM

            Anything But Microsoft
            Dave S2
          • It used to describe those who can't find anything good about Microsoft

            Anything But Microsoft.

            It is one thing to be critical where criticism is due, it is entirely another thing where criticism is just a way of taking cheap shots. There are definitely areas where Microsoft deserves criticism. But Microsoft has dones some things very well.
          • Actually no

            It was originally used to Marginalize anyone that did not agree 100% with what Microsoft does. I've personally seen individuals say someone's an ABMer, for saying "Windows 7, is better than Window 8". Even if in their particular situation is is. I was originally called that for saying I prefer Office 2003 (and Office for Mac 2008), over that nasty ribbon crap. Because I, and many others, do not blindly follow Microsoft's "Change, of the sake of change", we're all Marginalized, and insulted.
            I hate trolls also
          • ABM Not Created By MS Fans

            Actually, ABM (Anything But Microsoft) was the abbreviation coined by people who were angry with Microsoft. I was am ABM-wanna-be for over a decade. MS had really pissed me off with some of its moves, the fake embed-the-browser-into-Windows gambit being the first outwardly despicable move of many in that era. Linux was coming into its own around that time, and I encountered the concept of trying to set up a PC using absolutely no Microsoft components -- an it was introduced at that time as ABM. As my career has continually placed me where Windows was the key OS in use, I never had much career motivation to go ABM, and the complexity of installing, maintaining, and using Linux exceeded my patience threshhold at the time, so I never actually got to ABM status in any useful sense of the phrase. Time has dampened my enthusiasm, as has the arrogant attitudes I have encountered in the Linux space when I did seek help getting off Windows, so my view is more balanced now. Both have their place in my world -- and commensurately, both *are* in my world now. I've also learned that whining is very nearly the opposite of winning, so I gripe less. :-) But ABM was not invented by fans of MS, it was invented by people who really didn't like MS.
          • ABM

            I was the same way with Apple. I've chilled out a little, but part of my beef is the inflated pricing and the cloyingly over the top attitude of a lot of Apple lovers. Even if I agreed with them I'd say the opposite just to get under their skin out of spite. Apple products really aren't bad to me I just can't see paying 1500 for a laptop that I can get for 500 with windows on it. I'm not trolling and not Apple bashing by the way, just stating my feelings.

            When Steve Jobs wrote the email telling a customer that kept having dropped calls to "stop holding it that way" I think I might have lost my mind about that. Just a little.

            As much of a Microsoft backer as I've been over the years, I'm surprised I don't have a windows phone.
          • Oh piddle!

            Criticism of Microsoft based upon facts is warranted - and Microsoft should welcome it. That's what gave us Windows 7 ... and Windows 8.1. Both products are vastly superior to their common predecessor, Windows Vista. Was the introduction to the Surface RT severely botched up? You bet ... but Microsoft finally figured that out - thanks to the court of public opinion.

            You don't like Windows? Fine - but it is not because Microsoft, or its founders, are idiots. Or greedy. Or otherwise morally corrupt.

            Nor are you WRONG for disliking their products. Use the products you want to use. No one is hurt by your choices.

            Competition is good for everybody but when angry young men shout at each other about how smart they are and how stupid everyone else is because they disagree, all they do is make themselves look stupid.

            Apple makes great products. Microsoft makes great products. The various Linux vendors and Android vendors make good products. These products are not (nor should they be) interchangeable. The important question is whether or not they meet your needs. If they do, by all means, buy them.

            In the mean time, stop making yourselves look stupid. Sooner or later, some potential employer is going to see how you carry yourself in a public forum and wonder if they should hire you.
            M Wagner
          • I propose to agree to disagree...

            ...on the morally corrupt part. I think a large number of MS' actions over the past 30 years are unjustifiable, except on the basis of "leave your morals at the door" business ethics; but others are entitled to reach their own conclusions.
            John L. Ries
          • Find me a company that is not morally bankrupt!

            And please don't try to mention Apple.
          • That would be an argument...

            ...for abolishing corporations and making everyone do business in his own name (assuming it were true). It's not a defence of MS.
            John L. Ries
          • Here! Here!

            Perfectly said and I couldn't agree more.

            Let reality finally have a place on ZDNet.
          • You know, your comment is so unfair.

            The fact is that Windows users for the vast majority of them HAVE NOT denied past and present shortcomings of Microsoft and Windows. Most of them don't castigate, threaten and spew garbage about other competitors either.

            Much to the contrary its traditionally been some very over zealous Apple fanatics and some all too high and mighty Linux users who literally gave rise to the acronym "ABM" meaning Anything But Microsoft.

            And that's because the clowns I am speaking of are the ones who literally claim any number of obvious and clear falsehoods about Microsoft and Windows and usually do so in just about the most mean spirited ways one could imagine. And I can give clear absolute and irrefutable example of what Im talking about.

            1. "Windows is an unusable pile of garbage that fills up with viruses and malware so fast its impossible to keep it running"

            Various forms of this purely and 100% false claim is made daily by various ABM posters here on ZDNet and its just pure unadulterated stupidity. We know this is false because so much of the world has run off of Windows successfully for so many years that if Windows was even a fraction as bad as the LIARS make it out to be companies seeking to make a profit would have dumped Windows many years ago in droves. While some morons will try the laughably ridiculous argument that office politics keep Windows where it is in the business world, an obviously stupid claim if it involves ongoing negative impacts on profits, it still wouldn't keep the public sector of home users from a gradual migration to some form of "fantastic and FREE" form of a Linux OS if that was in any significant way a true better choice for the majority. And with Apples razzle dazzle advertising they should have found some way to crack the 10% bar to the desktop/laptop market by now and they havnt.

            While there is no doubt in my mind that for some a Mac or a Linux system is the much better choice for them, there is no doubt in the universe that claims of Windows being some kind of an abject failure or other is a pure falsehood.

            And as Ed mentioned, here is another clueless remark:

            2. "WP8 is a horrible failure and Microsoft needs to give it up if they want to save themselves"

            That comment is so absolutely ludicrous it makes a person saying sound like a complete idiot if you figured they were serious. The absolute fact is, if one has any, and I mean even a little vision about the future of computing in the future, if Microsoft would fail if they stick with the WP model, they would be better off to fail trying then fail after giving up because in the long term people with a brain about this recognize the likelihood of Microsoft eventually failing in the long term if they have nothing very profitable to offer in the area of mobility in the future years.

            Microsoft will NEVER give up on some form of Windows based smartphone and other mobile offerings. NEVER. EVER. EVER. Read it, weep, NEVER.

            Mark those words. Its not rocket science. Its less then common sense, it clear its obvious and any other conclusion is ludicrous. Where is Microsoft in lets say 15 years if they had given up on Windows based mobility in 2015????

            Come on, be serious. They would be slow burned toast.

            And of course idiotic ABM'ers would just love that so why not claim Microsoft is a failure and needs to drop WP8 as fast as they can. Ha! Rediculous!

            Ive had an iPhone for years, my wife has an Android, neither for my purposes come close to being as good as my new WP8. I cant even fathom a reason why they would even think of giving it up. Sure, you can cobble up reasons for anything...why would someone jump out of an airplane without a parachute?? You can come up with reasons, but none of them would be good or happy reasons for most humans, and likewise any junk explanations for MS giving up on WP8 is going to result in an over all unsustainable net loss resulting in the eventual downfall or at the very least radically diminished and negatively altered Microsoft in the long run.

            So don't tell us how the term ABM stands for someone who "dares to say or have an opinion that is anyway critical of Microsoft". Just about everyone has had multiple negative things to say about Microsoft at different times, but when it makes sense, it isn't driven by bizarre hate and lies brought on by a weirdly cooked up bias, then it has nothing to do with an ABM attitude.

            Conversely, I also know as a fact there have been plenty of Apple fanatics who will hear nothing of anything negative about Macs for example, in their minds Macs don't have any security issues and they cost less then what you can get a PC for. They berate you and call names and practically threaten to smack you down if your so audacious to insist there is some specific flaw with a Mac or OSX. They will tell you, "I know Macs are not perfect, but whatever flaw your speaking of isn't real its just a feature".

            So don't tell Windows users they are in any way unfair in their dealings with some of the loony's who refuse to acknowledge there is so much as a scrap of goodness in Windows.

            Ive watched this website for YEARS. Posted here for YEARS. And there is one very provable thing.
          • Amazingly enough

            I agree that Windows is quite usable. I'm not impressed with Windows 8, thus far, but we'll see how things go in the future.

            Mostly what I want is to make my own computing decisions in peace. That would include not having to worry about MS-induced patent and compatibility wars.
            John L. Ries
          • Thats more than fair.

            Well said John L. Ries.
          • And...

            ...I've never had any complaint against MS users or employees; it's the management decisions that annoy me.
            John L. Ries