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.

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TOPICS: Microsoft
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  • "Windows is fundamentally insecure and unreliable"

    The early parts of the first decade of this century were a nightmare for Microsoft and its customers. The combination of a monopoly share of the market, minimal security awareness, and a criminal community that had discovered the Internet with a vengeance meant that malware was a fact of life for every Windows user, at home and in the office.

    That all began to change in 2002, when Bill Gates basically slammed on the brakes at Microsoft and forced a fundamental reassessment of how security issues are handled. Allow me to quote myself:

    As a result of the Trustworthy Computing initiative, Microsoft introduced a massive change in the way it develops software. The Security Development Lifecycle has paid off hugely over the last 10 years and has been widely praised and copied.

    In addition to building a more disciplined process for writing secure code, Microsoft has improved its update infrastructure and worked closely with outside security experts and third-party developers to improve the way their products work. Over time, Microsoft has built its own antivirus and network intrusion software; now that the 2001 antitrust agreement has officially ended, that software will finally appear in Windows itself.

    These days, most successful exploits come through vulnerabilities in third-party software. A brand-new report from Secunia, for example, notes that Microsoft has two-thirds of the software in the top 50 list on the average PC, but only 24 percent of the vulnerabilities. And even when those vulnerabilities occur, Microsoft customers are generally well protected:

    It is one thing that third-party programs are responsible for the majority of vulnerabilities on a typical PC, rather than Microsoft programs. However, another very important security factor is how easy it is to update Microsoft programs compared to third-party programs. Quite simply, the automation with which Microsoft security updates are made available to end users – through auto-updates, Configuration Management systems and update services –  ensures that it is a reasonably simple task to protect private PCs and corporate infrastructures from the vulnerabilities discovered in Microsoft products. This is not so with the large number of third-party vendors, many of whom lack either the capabilities, resources or security focus to make security updates automatically and easily available,” said Secunia CTO, Morten R. Stengaard.

    Thanks to its massive footprint, Microsoft software is still a massive target. It’s a well-protected target, fortunately. And if you think otherwise, you might be living in 1998. Coincidentally, it’s a 1998-era PC (shown above) that Apple uses to illustrate a PC in Finder. I guess they’re too busy fixing horrifying SSL bugs to actually replace that icon with a modern Windows PC.

  • "Xbox should be spun off into a separate business"

    One influential financial analyst has been pounding the table for this change for the past year or so, all in the interest of “unlocking shareholder value.”

    While it’s true that Xbox had a string of losses in its early years, those are sunk costs. The platform today is at least break-even and probably profitable. It spawns games that can bring in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue. More important, it is a well-loved Microsoft brand that is widely available in hundreds of millions of living rooms, where it has the potential to tie into other Microsoft services and expand Microsoft’s reach into the consumer market. Do you really want to give those all up if you’re a Microsoft shareholder? I didn’t think so.

    And finally, there’s the pure technical side. The technology that drives Xbox, both as a gaming platform and as an entertainment hub (that’s a big growth business, by the way), comes straight out of the same groups that build Windows. If you sell the company, how do you expect the Xbox developers to extend their platform?

    No, Xbox belongs in Redmond. The only people who would applaud a spinoff are vulture capitalists who skim off profits as they drive a once-proud company into the ground.

    Make them go away.

  • "The 'One Microsoft' reorg is just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic"

    Poor Steve Ballmer. Despite leading a fundamental transformation of Microsoft from a software licensing powerhouse to one that has a strong future in cloud-based services, he gets no respect.

    So the “One Microsoft” reorganization that he instituted last July is as misunderstood as Rodney Dangerfield. Here’s the key paragraph from Ballmer’s memo:

    We are rallying behind a single strategy as one company — not a collection of divisional strategies. Although we will deliver multiple devices and services to execute and monetize the strategy, the single core strategy will drive us to set shared goals for everything we do. We will see our product line holistically, not as a set of islands. We will allocate resources and build devices and services that provide compelling, integrated experiences across the many screens in our lives, with maximum return to shareholders. All parts of the company will share and contribute to the success of core offerings, like Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, Surface, Office 365 and our EA offer, Bing, Skype, Dynamics, Azure and our servers. All parts of the company will contribute to activating high-value experiences for our customers.

    You can already see hints of how radical this new approach is. At Mobile World Congress, the big news about Windows 8.1 Update 1 came from Joe Belfiore, who until recently was exclusively a Windows Phone guy. Inside the company, I am hearing that the reorg has already helped break down some of the silos that led Windows developers to resist cooperation with divisions that didn’t share their lofty operating margins.

    This is the kind of reorganization that takes years to fully execute in a company the size of Microsoft. Fortunately, Satya Nadella appears to have embraced and even extended the concepts.

Topic: Microsoft

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441 comments
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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.
      karkhanis.a@...
      • Ditto

        +1
        daikon
        • 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.
          ForeverCookie
          • Umm... What's an "ABMer"?

            Too much jargon.
            dougpierson@...
          • 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.
            MeMyselfAndI_z
          • 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.
            skmpu@...
          • 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.
            chethammer
          • 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.
            larsonjs
          • 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.
            Cayble
          • 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.
            Cayble
          • 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.
            Cayble
          • And...

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