Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Incredible Microsoft Clusterphuck (IMC)

It takes a multi-billion monopoly like Microsoft to pull off some of what I've been reading the past week, let alone since the first of the year when Vista was released. But I just wanted to catalog some of the not-to-be-believed stranger-than-truth facts that have come into existence over the past three or four months. So, without further adieu, my selection of IMC talking points.
  • Use Vista and want to access MSDN? Use Firefox! In which the author shows that the best browser to use on 64-bit Vista to access Microsoft's own ISDN network isn't IE7, but Firefox. One reason for using Firefox? The MSDN site is tagged as not secure by IE7. Worse, he can't use Microsoft File Transfer Manager to download CD/DVD images of MSFT applications because "Vista’s enhanced security prevents user from downloading files".
  • Slow Train Wreck. In which Microsoft, in an attempt to treat the world+dog as guilty until proven innocent, has discovered that its anti-IP-copying software makes copying any file intolerably slow (or deleting or moving for that matter). As one annoyed user was quoted: "I simply can not believe that I updated to a new computer and put windows Vista on it to find that it's not even capable of moving and deleting files in an efficient manner," one disaffected user posted in the Microsoft forum. "Microsoft must be kidding! The most basic of features that I use all the time is a slow train wreck."
  • Stacking Vista Licenses Too High. In which Microsoft is caught lying again (really!). Microsoft claims it's sold 20 million Vista licenses, but many in the industry who know that industry beg to differ. In fact, if you've been reading the news, you'll discover that Vista is off to a much slower start than Windows XP. The only way that Vista will be sold in large numbers in the near future is to buy it pre-installed on a new machine. And that's assuming the market doesn't start buying even more Macs in the future.
  • Microsoft announces more discounted Vista licensing. Ars Technica documents Microsoft's convoluted discounts amongst its various Vista flavors. Like the end of the Ats article says, caveat emptor. You can, for example, go to Newegg and find Vista heavily discounted to the same level as Windows XP.
But enough about Vista. What about Microsoft's other big properties?
  • Zune has been an ongoing disaster since the early part of December 2006. One problem (of many) is the draconian DRM that makes Apple's iTunes look good. The big wireless feature, that was supposed to enable the 'social' aspect of the Zune, won't allow you to transfer any music, even music that you create, from one device to another without marking it as DRM infected. That means you get three days or three plays, whichever comes first. Couple that with its initial inability to work with Vista when first released as well as being incompatible with every other PlaysForSure former Microsoft music partner, and you have a ready-made spectacular failure.
  • Sales of the Xbox 360 have been spotty at best. The biggest market is here in the US, followed by the United Kingdom. That's it. It sells like a dog in Japan, and not much better throughout the rest of Europe. Considering the continuing white-hot sales of the Wii and Sony's equally catestrophic train wreck called the PS3, I'm sure that Microsoft is just raking in the dough from the Xbox 360. Which is a good thing considering that all those consoles needing to have their "Red Ring of Death" fixed (once, twice...). Somebody has to pay for it, and it's not going to be all those pissed off gamers.
This is what a monopoly gets you. High prices, lousy selection, and poor quality. Yeah, I might have problems with Linux, but I know who my real enemy is. And it ain't Tux.

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