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MSFT's lost decade


rogermunibond
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Had to stop this a few times to take a breather. This guy literally knows nothing about Microsoft. At one point he says 'windows 7 is great, people who buy it love it... but its not selling.' and I just stopped watching.

 

I wonder why I can't pen pieces in vanity fair about any topic I wish, even if I don't know the basic facts. Please refer to the financial metrics posted in the last few days on the Microsoft thread, and their past 10 year history to really understand how this 'lost decade' came to be.

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Had to stop this a few times to take a breather. This guy literally knows nothing about Microsoft. At one point he says 'windows 7 is great, people who buy it love it... but its not selling.' and I just stopped watching.

 

Hehe, I choked a bit when I heard that part as well.  The part about MSFT not being cash rich anymore was another bit of blatant stupidity.

 

His whole thesis is that MSFT isn't cool and so they're just irrelevant and doomed to some undescribed awful demise.  Yes, MSFT missed opportunities in mobile and tablets.  Yes, MSFT needs to get those right quickly to regain footing in mobile computing and offset that threat to their core businesses.  And, yes, as a large organisation they are imperfect and probably suffer from ineffective bureaucracy.  But, to call the last ten years at MSFT a lost decade requires you to just ignore the facts of their actual performance.  But if tripling revenues per share and quintupling earnings per share over ten years is somehow a lost decade, please serve me up another one just like it.

 

The idea that since the stock price has been stuck at or under $30 for the last decade, so the MSFT business must suck is another common bit of nonsense he threw out.  It's clear to me that in that time the business went from wildly overvalued to quite undervalued.  But, that notion just never seems to occur to some critics.  MSFT's peak market cap was something like $600 billion at the peak of the tech bubble.  The current market cap is $250 billion.  I think both of those numbers get it wrong, but $600 billion is nuts for the MSFT of more than ten years ago.

 

I do agree with his point that breaking down the structure of MSFT may be beneficial.  I might not go so far as to break it up into separate public companies, but more of a holding company approach might allow certain businesses to be more competitive.  Hell with all the cash they have and all that they throw off, Microsoft Hathaway might be a cool model to contemplate.

 

Disclosure -- long MSFT

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At one point Charlie asks him what the current PE ratio of Microsoft is. If you are writing an article with such a bold premise you had better damn well get financial metrics memorized. I can't imagine how he didn't spit out ~10 when he got asked that question. He says he doesn't remember off the top of his head. That signals he just doesn't know enough. He also claims they don't have much cash. He says people are not buying windows 7. I don't know where they dig these fossils up but its getting really sad. I also found his explanation for their performance reviews pathetic. So a third rate journalist is a genius next to gladwell in his worldview, I guess. Look  in capitalism there is ranking, and value ascribed to people. Sometimes there has to be artificial cutoffs and metrics we use to judge performance. He makes Microsoft seem like a demonic enterprise.

 

He might even be shocked that Steve Jobs used to bring his 'top 100' employees to a yearly retreat to get things out of the best and hide it from the remainder until the products were finished. How crazy to assume one guy can know who the top 100 are without some kind of scale system similar to other corporations. I just don't see how that can be worth writing about negatively. Competition is good, man. I guess that's why Vanity Fair writes these kinds of articles: all shock and glitter with no cigar.

 

After reading some replies to that article I believe the author views the company with the same kind of indifference as the average consumer who isn't really following any technology news. So they are likely saying Apple is cool and Microsoft is not. I get that, but that isn't anything special or new. That doesn't mean they lost a decade. Theres nothing savvy about that article. I've seen better posts on seeking alpha.

 

I'd be making a crystal ball assumption but MSFT looks like a great investment here after realizing how many people see the company with bad lenses. Even Vanity fair can't grasp it. I'm adding shares every chance I get.

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I agree both of you that MSFT has hardly had a lost decade.  They've had tremendous success over the last 10 years.  But let me also point out that MSFT has a near monopoly on the OS used by businesses (and let's throw Office in there as well.)  So much so that even Vista (which by any real measurement was a disaster) couldn't undo their strangehold.  Let us also not forget that, depending on the metric, 30-40% of PC users still use Windows XP (software from 11 years ago.)

 

So, in my opinion, you essentially have a company that is coasting on a multi-decade monopoly.  And by almost every objective measure, arguably even including XBOX 360, non-WinCo MSFT has been a massive failure.  I include XBOX360 because it eeks out sub $50M in profits and Lord knows how much R&D was put into it.  They'll probably never make their money back. 

 

So, you are right that the House of Gates has built a franchise so strong that marketplace momentum alone all but guarantees another decade of monopolistic profitability.  But the problem is that the House of Ballmer is slowly but surely eating the House of Gates from the ground up.

 

They recently wrote down a $6.2B acquisition.  That's $6.2 BILLION.  Or, to put it another way, 124 years of XBox 360 profits (assuming current profit levels.) 

 

I think it's important to be objective here.  You can praise the Xbox360's marketshare all you want, but being the best console in the industry is like being the tallest midget in the circus.  MSFT nor Sony makes any real money on consoles. 

 

My fear is that all those 30-40% of Windows XP users are going to have to upgrade one day and, according to current numbers, they are more likely to use a non-Windows PC more than any time in the last 30 years.  So the House of Ballmer may be overpowering the House of Gates faster than you think.

 

 

 

 

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I agree both of you that MSFT has hardly had a lost decade.  They've had tremendous success over the last 10 years.  But let me also point out that MSFT has a near monopoly on the OS used by businesses (and let's throw Office in there as well.)  So much so that even Vista (which by any real measurement was a disaster) couldn't undo their strangehold.  Let us also not forget that, depending on the metric, 30-40% of PC users still use Windows XP (software from 11 years ago.)

 

So, in my opinion, you essentially have a company that is coasting on a multi-decade monopoly.  And by almost every objective measure, arguably even including XBOX 360, non-WinCo MSFT has been a massive failure.  I include XBOX360 because it eeks out sub $50M in profits and Lord knows how much R&D was put into it.  They'll probably never make their money back. 

 

So, you are right that the House of Gates has built a franchise so strong that marketplace momentum alone all but guarantees another decade of monopolistic profitability.  But the problem is that the House of Ballmer is slowly but surely eating the House of Gates from the ground up.

 

They recently wrote down a $6.2B acquisition.  That's $6.2 BILLION.  Or, to put it another way, 124 years of XBox 360 profits (assuming current profit levels.) 

 

I think it's important to be objective here.  You can praise the Xbox360's marketshare all you want, but being the best console in the industry is like being the tallest midget in the circus.  MSFT nor Sony makes any real money on consoles. 

 

My fear is that all those 30-40% of Windows XP users are going to have to upgrade one day and, according to current numbers, they are more likely to use a non-Windows PC more than any time in the last 30 years.  So the House of Ballmer may be overpowering the House of Gates faster than you think.

 

Terrific post!  Cheers!

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I agree both of you that MSFT has hardly had a lost decade.  They've had tremendous success over the last 10 years.  But let me also point out that MSFT has a near monopoly on the OS used by businesses (and let's throw Office in there as well.)  So much so that even Vista (which by any real measurement was a disaster) couldn't undo their strangehold.  Let us also not forget that, depending on the metric, 30-40% of PC users still use Windows XP (software from 11 years ago.)

 

So, in my opinion, you essentially have a company that is coasting on a multi-decade monopoly.  And by almost every objective measure, arguably even including XBOX 360, non-WinCo MSFT has been a massive failure.  I include XBOX360 because it eeks out sub $50M in profits and Lord knows how much R&D was put into it.  They'll probably never make their money back. 

 

So, you are right that the House of Gates has built a franchise so strong that marketplace momentum alone all but guarantees another decade of monopolistic profitability.  But the problem is that the House of Ballmer is slowly but surely eating the House of Gates from the ground up.

 

They recently wrote down a $6.2B acquisition.  That's $6.2 BILLION.  Or, to put it another way, 124 years of XBox 360 profits (assuming current profit levels.) 

 

I think it's important to be objective here.  You can praise the Xbox360's marketshare all you want, but being the best console in the industry is like being the tallest midget in the circus.  MSFT nor Sony makes any real money on consoles. 

 

My fear is that all those 30-40% of Windows XP users are going to have to upgrade one day and, according to current numbers, they are more likely to use a non-Windows PC more than any time in the last 30 years.  So the House of Ballmer may be overpowering the House of Gates faster than you think.

 

Terrific post!  Cheers!

 

+1

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I agree both of you that MSFT has hardly had a lost decade.  They've had tremendous success over the last 10 years.  But let me also point out that MSFT has a near monopoly on the OS used by businesses (and let's throw Office in there as well.)  So much so that even Vista (which by any real measurement was a disaster) couldn't undo their strangehold.  Let us also not forget that, depending on the metric, 30-40% of PC users still use Windows XP (software from 11 years ago.)

 

So, in my opinion, you essentially have a company that is coasting on a multi-decade monopoly.  And by almost every objective measure, arguably even including XBOX 360, non-WinCo MSFT has been a massive failure.  I include XBOX360 because it eeks out sub $50M in profits and Lord knows how much R&D was put into it.  They'll probably never make their money back. 

 

So, you are right that the House of Gates has built a franchise so strong that marketplace momentum alone all but guarantees another decade of monopolistic profitability.  But the problem is that the House of Ballmer is slowly but surely eating the House of Gates from the ground up.

 

They recently wrote down a $6.2B acquisition.  That's $6.2 BILLION.  Or, to put it another way, 124 years of XBox 360 profits (assuming current profit levels.) 

 

I think it's important to be objective here.  You can praise the Xbox360's marketshare all you want, but being the best console in the industry is like being the tallest midget in the circus.  MSFT nor Sony makes any real money on consoles. 

 

My fear is that all those 30-40% of Windows XP users are going to have to upgrade one day and, according to current numbers, they are more likely to use a non-Windows PC more than any time in the last 30 years.  So the House of Ballmer may be overpowering the House of Gates faster than you think.

 

Agree!!

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I agree both of you that MSFT has hardly had a lost decade.  They've had tremendous success over the last 10 years.  But let me also point out that MSFT has a near monopoly on the OS used by businesses (and let's throw Office in there as well.)  So much so that even Vista (which by any real measurement was a disaster) couldn't undo their strangehold.  Let us also not forget that, depending on the metric, 30-40% of PC users still use Windows XP (software from 11 years ago.)

 

So, in my opinion, you essentially have a company that is coasting on a multi-decade monopoly.  And by almost every objective measure, arguably even including XBOX 360, non-WinCo MSFT has been a massive failure.  I include XBOX360 because it eeks out sub $50M in profits and Lord knows how much R&D was put into it.  They'll probably never make their money back. 

 

So, you are right that the House of Gates has built a franchise so strong that marketplace momentum alone all but guarantees another decade of monopolistic profitability.  But the problem is that the House of Ballmer is slowly but surely eating the House of Gates from the ground up.

 

They recently wrote down a $6.2B acquisition.  That's $6.2 BILLION.  Or, to put it another way, 124 years of XBox 360 profits (assuming current profit levels.) 

 

I think it's important to be objective here.  You can praise the Xbox360's marketshare all you want, but being the best console in the industry is like being the tallest midget in the circus.  MSFT nor Sony makes any real money on consoles. 

 

My fear is that all those 30-40% of Windows XP users are going to have to upgrade one day and, according to current numbers, they are more likely to use a non-Windows PC more than any time in the last 30 years.  So the House of Ballmer may be overpowering the House of Gates faster than you think.

 

JSArbitrage, you raise good points.  We certainly need to be forward looking when thinking about MSFT.  They do face real competitive threats, even to the OS and Office franchises that mint most of their money.  But, MSFT is so entrenched at the enterprise level that those two pieces will be incredibly difficult to dislodge.  IMO, they will continue to mint money there for the foreseeable future. 

 

There real problems are (and really always have been) at the consumer level, and their misses in the phone and tablet space have hurt them.  But, I think Win8 has the potential to really compete well.  And, they are potentially the best positioned to provide a seamless linkage of PC/mobile/tablet/TV systems.  They'll be able to offer a competitive OS on all those systems that is integrated and full featured.  But, they need to execute, which they haven't really been able to do well enough historically.  But, I think they have a lot of potential that gets written off because they're Microsoft and not as sexy as Apple.

 

At the risk of projecting my own experience as being representative of the general experience, let me say that I have an ipad, 2 windows PCs, one windows laptop, 3 ipods, an xbox 360, and an android smart phone.  If forced to choose, I'd say you can take away everything but my windows PCs and my phone.  The ipad is a great piece of consumer electronics, but to me it isn't all that useful for anything but media consumption and web surfing.  From my experience windows is very nearly irreplaceable to me as a consumer.  I won't be editing pictures and videos, running my media server, or storing all my files on my ipad. 

 

I think the common perception is that MSFT has been left behind and/or is dying (how could it not be, given the lost decade) and that is reflected in the price.  MSFT isn't perfect, but at current prices they don't need to be.

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I agree both of you that MSFT has hardly had a lost decade.  They've had tremendous success over the last 10 years.  But let me also point out that MSFT has a near monopoly on the OS used by businesses (and let's throw Office in there as well.)  So much so that even Vista (which by any real measurement was a disaster) couldn't undo their strangehold.  Let us also not forget that, depending on the metric, 30-40% of PC users still use Windows XP (software from 11 years ago.)

 

So, in my opinion, you essentially have a company that is coasting on a multi-decade monopoly.  And by almost every objective measure, arguably even including XBOX 360, non-WinCo MSFT has been a massive failure.  I include XBOX360 because it eeks out sub $50M in profits and Lord knows how much R&D was put into it.  They'll probably never make their money back. 

 

So, you are right that the House of Gates has built a franchise so strong that marketplace momentum alone all but guarantees another decade of monopolistic profitability.  But the problem is that the House of Ballmer is slowly but surely eating the House of Gates from the ground up.

 

They recently wrote down a $6.2B acquisition.  That's $6.2 BILLION.  Or, to put it another way, 124 years of XBox 360 profits (assuming current profit levels.) 

 

I think it's important to be objective here.  You can praise the Xbox360's marketshare all you want, but being the best console in the industry is like being the tallest midget in the circus.  MSFT nor Sony makes any real money on consoles. 

 

My fear is that all those 30-40% of Windows XP users are going to have to upgrade one day and, according to current numbers, they are more likely to use a non-Windows PC more than any time in the last 30 years.  So the House of Ballmer may be overpowering the House of Gates faster than you think.

 

I respectfully disagree.

 

I don't think it's appropriate to place all this blame on Steve Ballmer.  I haven't read the VF article, but I suspect MSFT was pretty darn bureaucratic and dysfunctional (in some ways) before Ballmer took over.  It's almost like David Einhorn wrote this freaking article -- who knows, maybe they decided to do the article after Einhorn made his comments about Ballmer.

 

Regarding Xbox, you can't just look at it as a segregated business.  As an OS provider, MSFT has to have an offering for the TV screen and, remarkably, they have set themselves up nicely for the future while actually making a decent profit at the same time.  Xbox is part and parcel of the Microsoft OS offering, and I think we're going to see the next version of the Xbox running Windows 8.  In fact, it makes absolutely zero sense to spin off the Xbox division -- only a financier would come up with such a dumb idea. 

 

Regarding Online Services, first, I would be very surprised if the $6.2 billion acquisition did not have sign off from Bill G.  It looks like MSFT underestimated what it would take to really go head to head against GOOG and be profitable (Now that's a moat!), and it's possible they paid too much for the aQuantive deal. 

 

Second, MSFT essentially wrote off all goodwill for the Online Services Division.  But if MSFT can eventually make a profit on the market share it is going after, that write-down may turn out to be less than accurate from a pure economic goodwill perspective.  It's too soon to tell what Online Services will be worth in the next decade or two.

 

Finally, with respect to Windows market share, I don't think at all that it is a given that MSFT will have monopolistic profitability in this coming decade.  In fact, I think people could potentially be surprised by how much market share MSFT loses going forward.  MSFT gets this, and is trying to maintain (profitable) share, as well as redeploy capital into the "big data" sector, where it feels it can make gobs of profit.

 

Can't fault them for recognizing the threats and realizing that the days left for monopolistic profits are dwindling.  I wouldn't count MSFT out -- as Tim Cook would say, there is a horse that keeps on running Redmond that you have to watch out for.

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There real problems are (and really always have been) at the consumer level, and their misses in the phone and tablet space have hurt them.  But, I think Win8 has the potential to really compete well.  And, they are potentially the best positioned to provide a seamless linkage of PC/mobile/tablet/TV systems.

 

The sad thing is that MSFT was actually first to market with both the phone and tablet!  They had Windows CE and Windows tablet years ago before the iPhone and iPad.  They could have owned those markets. It's not like search, gaming, and the iPod where they were/are trying to play catchup.  They squandered their massive lead.

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I agree both of you that MSFT has hardly had a lost decade.  They've had tremendous success over the last 10 years.  But let me also point out that MSFT has a near monopoly on the OS used by businesses (and let's throw Office in there as well.)  So much so that even Vista (which by any real measurement was a disaster) couldn't undo their strangehold.  Let us also not forget that, depending on the metric, 30-40% of PC users still use Windows XP (software from 11 years ago.)

 

So, in my opinion, you essentially have a company that is coasting on a multi-decade monopoly.  And by almost every objective measure, arguably even including XBOX 360, non-WinCo MSFT has been a massive failure.  I include XBOX360 because it eeks out sub $50M in profits and Lord knows how much R&D was put into it.  They'll probably never make their money back. 

 

So, you are right that the House of Gates has built a franchise so strong that marketplace momentum alone all but guarantees another decade of monopolistic profitability.  But the problem is that the House of Ballmer is slowly but surely eating the House of Gates from the ground up.

 

They recently wrote down a $6.2B acquisition.  That's $6.2 BILLION.  Or, to put it another way, 124 years of XBox 360 profits (assuming current profit levels.) 

 

I think it's important to be objective here.  You can praise the Xbox360's marketshare all you want, but being the best console in the industry is like being the tallest midget in the circus.  MSFT nor Sony makes any real money on consoles. 

 

My fear is that all those 30-40% of Windows XP users are going to have to upgrade one day and, according to current numbers, they are more likely to use a non-Windows PC more than any time in the last 30 years.  So the House of Ballmer may be overpowering the House of Gates faster than you think.

 

JSArbitrage, you raise good points.  We certainly need to be forward looking when thinking about MSFT.  They do face real competitive threats, even to the OS and Office franchises that mint most of their money.  But, MSFT is so entrenched at the enterprise level that those two pieces will be incredibly difficult to dislodge.  IMO, they will continue to mint money there for the foreseeable future. 

 

There real problems are (and really always have been) at the consumer level, and their misses in the phone and tablet space have hurt them.  But, I think Win8 has the potential to really compete well.  And, they are potentially the best positioned to provide a seamless linkage of PC/mobile/tablet/TV systems.  They'll be able to offer a competitive OS on all those systems that is integrated and full featured.  But, they need to execute, which they haven't really been able to do well enough historically.  But, I think they have a lot of potential that gets written off because they're Microsoft and not as sexy as Apple.

 

At the risk of projecting my own experience as being representative of the general experience, let me say that I have an ipad, 2 windows PCs, one windows laptop, 3 ipods, an xbox 360, and an android smart phone.  If forced to choose, I'd say you can take away everything but my windows PCs and my phone.  The ipad is a great piece of consumer electronics, but to me it isn't all that useful for anything but media consumption and web surfing.  From my experience windows is very nearly irreplaceable to me as a consumer.  I won't be editing pictures and videos, running my media server, or storing all my files on my ipad. 

 

I think the common perception is that MSFT has been left behind and/or is dying (how could it not be, given the lost decade) and that is reflected in the price.  MSFT isn't perfect, but at current prices they don't need to be.

 

I think the problem with focusing on enterprise is the same mistake RIMM made.  If consumers have Macs at home and love them that will begin to influence the enterprise.  The common response to this is that the IT guys won't go for it.  My experience has been the IT guys usually have Macs at home but management won't listen, this has been slowly changing.  In my company the staff went from 100% PCs to about 70/30 PC/Mac.  What's incredible about this number is if employees want a Mac they have to put $1k towards the cost themselves whereas the PC is "free" (employer pays).  So 30% of the company decided they'd rather pay up to use something they want.

 

Where MSFT wins out is in their big installations.  Large companies that have tens of thousands of PCs and Sharepoint etc aren't going to migrate, they aren't going to migrate quickly either.  I have two work laptops (both windows) and both run XP, not my choice but the company's choice.  Right now if a new piece of software is proposed it takes about a year to test it before the company will adopt it and let users install it. 

 

Microsoft is the definition of inertia to me, they are so widespread even if they're a melting ice cube it could take 20-30 years before they melt away.  I think their biggest challenge is the user base that has old software and refuses to update or upgrade.  My experience has been the older the software the more hesitant someone is to upgrade, they're afraid of things breaking and want to test for years.  So MSFT is saddled with these legacy systems that aren't generating any ongoing revenue (except maybe support) but are unwilling to upgrade either.  The fact that I will get attachments from Office 97 from time to time tells the story.

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I can bring another proof of the erosion of the moat.

 

I work in IT in public service. For as long as I remember renewing Windows and Offices licences was just a formality. For the first time, we have to justify and demonstrate how it will cost if we decide to go with open source or MAC. They definitively lost share of mind in that case.

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I think the problem with focusing on enterprise is the same mistake RIMM made.  If consumers have Macs at home and love them that will begin to influence the enterprise.  The common response to this is that the IT guys won't go for it.  My experience has been the IT guys usually have Macs at home but management won't listen, this has been slowly changing.  In my company the staff went from 100% PCs to about 70/30 PC/Mac.  What's incredible about this number is if employees want a Mac they have to put $1k towards the cost themselves whereas the PC is "free" (employer pays).  So 30% of the company decided they'd rather pay up to use something they want.

 

Where MSFT wins out is in their big installations.  Large companies that have tens of thousands of PCs and Sharepoint etc aren't going to migrate, they aren't going to migrate quickly either.  I have two work laptops (both windows) and both run XP, not my choice but the company's choice.  Right now if a new piece of software is proposed it takes about a year to test it before the company will adopt it and let users install it. 

 

Microsoft is the definition of inertia to me, they are so widespread even if they're a melting ice cube it could take 20-30 years before they melt away.  I think their biggest challenge is the user base that has old software and refuses to update or upgrade.  My experience has been the older the software the more hesitant someone is to upgrade, they're afraid of things breaking and want to test for years.  So MSFT is saddled with these legacy systems that aren't generating any ongoing revenue (except maybe support) but are unwilling to upgrade either.  The fact that I will get attachments from Office 97 from time to time tells the story.

 

MSFT's enterprise stickiness has a few layers.  Losing desktop OS share is a threat, but it isn't everything.  MSFT still has Office and the various server platforms on the back end (SQL server, Outlook, general networking, Sharepoint).  Combined, the desktop and back office stuff will be very hard to displace -- not impossible, but very strongly entrenched.  How many billions of dollars have been spent on installation and training for Office and MSFT's enterprise systems?  Inertia indeed.

 

The old legacy software is either a problem or an opportunity for MSFT.  Yes, it could be long time MSFT users' opportunity to look elsewhere, or it could be a huge windows upgrade cycle waiting to happen.  My own work desktop just recently got upgraded from XP to Win7.  As the support for XP disappears, migrating to Win7 should be the path of least resistance for most users.

 

 

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I can bring another proof of the erosion of the moat.

 

I work in IT in public service. For as long as I remember renewing Windows and Offices licences was just a formality. For the first time, we have to justify and demonstrate how it will cost if we decide to go with open source or MAC. They definitively lost share of mind in that case.

 

What is the alternative to Office?  My exposure to Open Office is a couple years old.  But, at the time it struck me as not quite ready for prime time.  It was sluggish and file compatibility with Office wasn't 100%.  At the time I was considering going 100% open source on one of my home PC's (Ubuntu, Open Office, etc.) and after months of fiddling and finding work-arounds decided it wasn't worth the trouble.  I could do 95% of what I needed with open source, but that other 5% needed windows.  So, even though I still dual-boot with Linux Mint from time to time, I need windows to get all the functionality I want/need from my desktop (although I acknowledge that won't necessarily be the case for everyone).

 

Google Docs is fine for simple, non-sensitive document sharing, but it isn't IMO a replacement for Office.

 

In justifying your Windows and Office licenses, what was the final result?  Did you organisation change or continue using MSFT?

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This is from a personal experience.

 

The last time I got excited about msft was when I first saw win 3 and then win 95. It has been downhilll ever since. The win xp has been a major pain, even with all security updates. I have owned ipad 1 since it came out and got ipad 3 last week. I am in awe. It is sheer joy to use ipad 3. I never considered buying apple products before due to its premium pricing. I now understand that it is better to pay 30-50% more and save yourself of daily hassles with security issues, constant updates, crashing etc. in future, even if appl is priced more, I'll go for it.  the ipad 1's performance hasn't changed one bit in last few years.

 

The vanity fair article is spot on; I expect to see APPL take more market share in laptops too; Their momentum may last another 10 years. I wouldn't underestimate the hatred people have for MSFT.

 

 

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Zarley

 

I know that there is nothing as good as Office right now. But for the first time we have to ask publicly for submission for proposition for an office suite. The top management (Not IT specialist) think that there may be an alternative. That was my point. Last time there was asking submission was for Windows 3.1. Microsoft will certainly win. The cost of the formation for 1000 peoples is too high but for a new buisiness it is not necessarly trivial to go with Office. Five years ago it was.

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