One sometimes see in investment offerings or adverts the phraseQuote:>Just thought I'd pop in here to laugh at some of the silly statements OS/2
>advocates were making in here about 6 months ago.
>Open your eyes, take a look at reality. Windows is the future, like it or
>not. Do something about it.
"Past performance is no guarantee of future results". I will not attempt
to reiterate that the technical and economic circumstances that made
Windows 3.0 a success in 1990 are no longer present in 1995; it has
been done better at the following URL:
One thing that is interesting are the reports from around the country of
plenty of first-day interest but lackluster sales of Win '95. The local
papers have reported this from numerous stores; one proprietor reported
200 inquiries resulting in 2 sales. I also read an account from elsewhere in
the country of a store that opened at 12:05 AM 8/24 with numerous specials,
including 4 meg SIMMs for $95 and 2X CDROM drives for $59. As was related,
people were loading up on drives and memory, but the end of the day came
with only 20 copies of Win '95 sold.
Why might this be? Certainly, the bad reports during the betas haven't helped,
and one might also consider the numerous "wait until later, when the bugs are
shaken out" assessments from everything from local media to Gartner Group,
the latter a bit of surprise given that in recent years GG has moved from
being IBM's lapdog to Microsoft's. Lapdog is a polite substitute for wh_r_,
of course :-).
Another factor that may have some bearing is that exposure to the Internet has
caused users to realize that the state of the art in technology is quite a bit
beyond the increasingly quaint-looking Microsoft desktop. Quite a few folks
have used things such as the Mac or X-Windows in their work, and the notion
that GUI is commodity doesn't do much towards creating a preference for
the MS products.
Another factor is that the considerable limitiations of the Windows platform
in networked client-server business use are all too well recognized by firms
who have struggled valiantly ( and expensively ) to stabilize a product that
Microsoft failed to service with bugfixes and such, in complete contrast to
"serious business" vendors such as Novell, IBM, Digital, and so on. "It's
shrink wrap, take it or leave it" just doesn't fly in even the most moderately
complex commercial environments.
The latter has resulted in the banning of Windows '95 in many firms, at least
for the time being. The firm for which I work in fact has banned the product
due to concerns about impact on existing applications and unknown but
possibly open-ended support costs - Windows 3.0 was a complete nightmare
from a support and reliability perspective, tragically expensive to operate, such
that the low initial cost of the software and PCs to run it were completely
swamped out by the cost of constantly fixing something that couldn't really be
fixed. When 3.1 proved to be mostly minor bug fixes, some new cosmetics, and
a pass through a better optimizing C compiler, the name "Windows" became
associated with the phrase "terminally evolved".
The large installed base of Windows has often been attributed to have such
momentum that nothing can change it. What we may be seeing is that the
large installed base indeed has considerable inertia due to such economic
factors as described above, and that changing it overnight just ain't gonna
Finally, the business of MS saying "just wait, it's gonna be great" in the
NT and '95 pre-release publicity has perhaps worn too thin. I used to hear
the "it's gonna be great" joke about IBM, I now hear it about MS. The
similarity between the MS efforts in the 90's to proprietize customer
environments and paralyze them with FUD and the ultimately failed
efforts of IBM to do the same in the 70's and 80's is most striking.
At the consumer level, the high-intensity hype radiating from MS over the
last couple of years has bred a cynicism towards the computing industry that
in the past has been characteristic of consumer attitudes towards carnival
barkers and used-car salesman. You've probably heard the joke by now "What's
the difference between a used-car salesman and a computer salesman? The
used-car salesman KNOWS he lying".
Notwithstanding marketing demographics suggesting that Americans desparately
want to be part of a herd, the desire to not be hurt may be stronger. Perhaps
NT will evolve into something worthwhile.
By the way, for what it's worth, I've been running OS/2 and Linux exclusively
on my home system for a couple of years now, use Warp Connect at work in
order to get the most in compatibility with the heterogenous systems
environment I support ( mainframes, Unix, Netware, several RDBMS's,
plenty of Windows PCs, and just about every protocol on the network you
can name ), and I intend to take a look at NT Desktop this month, but
Windows '95? Don't waste my time.
Windows 95 - "If God had not meant for them to be shorn,
he would not have made them sheep"