Is Microsoft Windows invulnerable re an real competition for the foreseeable future?

I’m running XP and I was just pondering how MS has steadily taken over all the apps and applets I used to use like Eudora email, Netscape browser, WordPerfect word processing, Novell networking (at work) and how absolutely tied in I am personally and professionally to Microsoft products.

This is not to say MS makes bad products, they don’t (usually), but every time they have extended the capabilites of the OS another series of non-MS applets and software have become obsolete. If I was just running MS Windows XP Pro and nothing else there is enough there to be minimally productive, and quite frankly there is some degree of convenience that all the MS stuff is so net centric even if I hate the new XP registration annoyances and connectivity hassles when interfacing with older ME and 98 PCs. I know MS has some potentially serious competiton in the backend networking market via Linux but the simplest solution for many network admins seems to be to switch to NT server to minimize interoperability problems.

In any case, given this state of affairs is there even a remote possibility that MS will see some desktop competition in the forseeable future where I could power up a non-MS desktop OS that would seamlessly interface with all the existing MS stuff or is the nature of software such that MS is going to rule the desktop roost for a very long time to come?

Many are too young to remember that at one time, people were screaming that the biggest problem for computer users was the incompatibility of software. Those were the days when the same task, like saving a file say, was done twelve different ways: in one app, you would press CTRL-S, but in another you might press SHIFT-F5, and in another you might hold CTRL with ALT and press F12 with your elbow. People demanded to be able to work seamlessly across applications.

Well, they’ve gotten what they prayed for. Until someone can create a suite of applications as seamlessly integrated together and with the OS as Microsoft, then Microsoft will be the product of choice. Some companies were well on the way to doing this, like Borland for example, but various factors, not the least of which were myopic business planning and lousy marketing, contributed to their failures.

Some people will say that Microsoft bullied its way to the top, but that ain’t necessarily so. Certainly, it ain’t the whole picture. I remember when Excel cost a fortune and Quattro Pro was dirt cheap. But Borland sat on its laurels and spent its cash on new buildings. When they did that, Microsoft responded by dropping the price of Excel, and producing the earliest version of Access and Word with Excel as the kind of suite people had demanded.

Whoever wants to compete with Microsoft will need to offer a product that is more broad in scope, easier to use, and does a superior job.

Good question, but very hard to answer.

I’ve heard the argument many times that they could easily be beaten overnight, much like CP/M was beaten out by DOS back in the early 80’s. The problem with that scenario is that at the time there were very few computers, and the new one that came out, the IBM PC, was using DOS. It wasn’t DOS’ superiority that helped them win, but the IBM’s sales numbers.

That’s about the only way I can see Microsoft getting beaten in the near future. A company has to come out with a computer that uses a different operating system, yet has enormous sales figures, and eventually becomes the new standard. With that said, I honestly can’t imagine what sort of hardware could replace the Wintel boxes on most user’s desktops. Apple has certainly been trying for long enough, without success.

No, but I think it is safe to say that Apple has dug a niche for itself.

Not until the operating system and the key applications packages are effectively commoditized. At this point, no one can compete on a desktop-for-desktop basis with MS. Apple has barricaded itself into it’s own high-end niche, and linux is just not a consumer choice. BeOS is out of business, and OS/2 is strictly legacy.

But, this is already happening to a degree: the resurgence of client-server architectures, thin clients, and platform neutral interfaces and toolkits is making the underlying operating system less important. It’s this that makes other OSes a possibility, not because they’re better, but because they’re not relevant. A business running a web applications architecture can consider switching to Linux because it’s cheaper, or Mac because it’s got prettier icons. Office suites are maxed out for features, and cheaper alternatives like StarOffice offer the same functionality for less; email can be conveniently done by web interface; hardcore business applications like databases are already independent of the desktop.

I think Red Hat Linux has the best chance. But it’s still a very, very, tiny chance.

Mirkosoft is just like previous IT behmonths. Big fat sitting Duck. The It industry was dominated by IBM before mirkosoft is equalling convincing fashion.

Bloated monpolopy cartels just dont change. Resistaince to change is there thing.

Mirkosoft can and does buy out potential competition. Or give away (or sell very cheap) to undetcut and run the opposition out of town.

But like IBM before it Mirkosoft is incapable of ANY lateral thought or real development.

one day their will be a change in the winds, and exit another toteering empire.

“forseeable future” just how far does this forseeable future extend?
ANyone using mirkosoft products in ANY serious effort has just got rocks in their head. IMHO

If people don’t think Linux poses a threat to Microsoft, I’d personally be very curious as to why Microsoft is scared shitless by the growing number of companies and governments that are shifting or considering shifting to Linux.

I don’t think that Microsoft is particularly threatened on the home computer, at least, not for a while. But corporations seem to have begun wondering why they should pay MS licensing fees for Office XP when they can have OpenOffice for free without giving up much functionality, and without even switching their OS. Once their employees become accustomed to using the alternative software at work, they’re much less likely to buy MS Office for home use, and so the whole process has potential to snowball.

Obviously MS has such massive marketing muscle they won’t be going away any time soon. But it’s hard even for a behemoth such as MS to compete with free.

As a side note with regards to browswer wars. astro, you might want to check out the latest version of Netscape, or fellow mozilla-based browsers like Mozilla or Phoenix. For my money, they blow IE out of the water - tabbed browsing, built in popup suppression, etc. Of course, I don’t get to play with the latest versions of IE, since Microsoft doesn’t make a version compatible with my Microsoft operating system, so I’m only comparing with IE 5.5 - maybe the latest IE is better, but I suspect not by enough.

Can you really see John Q. Public dealing with partitioning, a complicated command-line interface, editing scores of config files, awkward hardware interfacing, etc?

I can see Linux doing quite well on the server end, but its nowhere near ready for prime time as a desktop operating system.

People forget that Microsoft has produced some extremely good software. For instance, Visual Studio has long been considered the best compiler around. There’s simply no competition, in terms of speed and functionality. Microsoft’s Office suite hasn’t had any serious competition for years, and it became the standard by being better than the competition, not through shady business tactics.

When was the last time you installed Red Hat?

You have no idea what you’re talking about.

I can install Red Hat faster and with fewer complications than I can any Windows. This just isn’t true anymore.

The first one I installed was version 7.3 I believe, and it was about as user-friendly to install as Windows. I think 8.0 was about the same. Both were completely graphical installations, no command line interaction at all.

Linux has potential, but it doesn’t have the infrastructure required to support all of the novice users out there, who will be calling tech support every 14 minutes to figure out why something isn’t working. In all reality, Linux may make a small dent, but until something arises completely out of the wood works that blows away Windows, there will be no better OS then Windows.

Linux maybe used in some companies, but in terms of broad compatibility, there is no OS on the face of the Earth that is as compatible with as many different programs/applications as Windows XP is. I’m sorry, but it’s true.

Apple will fold eventually. It won’t be able to stay afloat in the world where Microsoft dominates every aspect of the computer industry. Personally, Macs are insulting and stupid. Once again, Apple is killing itself by refusing to make their products compatible. Microsoft has taken the initiative and made Word, Excel, Powerpoint all available on Macs. Who still uses Appleworks? That’s right.

Microsoft may be involved in some illegal and disturbing business practices, but the main reason why it’s at the top is because it really offers the best products for the environment. Anyone who argues otherwise really doesn’t understand the fundemental concepts of Capitalism. The consumers will choose which is the best, and the best will rise to the top. Microsoft is the best for the moment, and will be the best until someone just blows them away. Don’t expect them to go away without a fight either.

They couldn’t possibly want to use Macs because they are running a Unix-based OS (OS X)? It would be the pretty icons that would do it? :rolleyes:

Why do you want to start a platform war here, anyway? Besides, OS X has opened a whole new world for Apple—many Unix geeks are drawn to it and are having a blast with it. OS X is not “insulting or stupid”, at least not according to many of the Unix geeks who are buying G4s to play with OS X. And yes, some people still use AppleWorks. Not me—I barely use any word processing or office app. (I’m mostly a Dreamweaver and Photoshop girl.)

As for the actual question of the OP—I hope MS has competition. Not that I hate it (I just replaced my aging PC with a new one, and find that there are things to like about XP) but competition is always good. Linix intrigues me, and yes, I love OS X (though I’m no Unix geek).

It could be for a variety of reasons, including the greater stability and usability of Macs. My point was that the OS on the machine is becoming irrelevant as business systems become less dependent on desktop features.

Flinch much?

Nope, just can’t read your mind.

I am supposed to automatically assume when someone only mentions “pretty icons” that they really mean to include “stability and usability” as well?

You might decide to ignore glib comments that aren’t relevent to the post.

One person’s glib is another person’s snotty. It’s hard sometimes to tell the difference on a message board.