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Microsoft and Apple Rumble Into Middle Age 367

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the lookit-those-pot-bellies dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Bill Briggs writes on MSNBC that the two tech titans are rumbling into middle age as Microsoft marked its 35th birthday on Sunday and Apple turned 34 late last week. But while Microsoft, to some, appears a tad flabby in the middle — a Chrysler Town & Country driver with a 9 pm bedtime — Apple, in some eyes, looks sleeker and younger — a hipster in a ragtop Beemer packed with chic friends sporting mobile toys. 'The difference between the two companies is that Apple has been fearless about transformational change while Microsoft has been reluctant to leave its past behind,' says Casey Ayers, president of MegatonApps. 'Microsoft has always been loath to change and risk alienating some of its customers, but its inability to leave the past behind has left their product line bloated and dysfunctional.' On current accounting ledgers, Microsoft overshadows Apple: Microsoft's market cap is $255.75 billion; Apple's is $213.98 billion. But Apple is getting awfully big — awfully fast — in Microsoft's rearview mirror. Consider that a decade ago Microsoft's market cap was almost $590 billion and Apple's was about $16 billion. So while Apple cheered its opening weekend of iPad sales, what wish should Microsoft have made when it blew out its birthday candles Sunday? 'More than anything, Microsoft's birthday wish should be for fearless leadership,' says Ayers. 'Without someone at the top who feels an urgency to constantly innovate in meaningful ways, Microsoft will shrink and become less relevant with each birthday to come.'"
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Microsoft and Apple Rumble Into Middle Age

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  • by confused one (671304) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:19AM (#31734238)
    Before you offer him that steak, you better check to see what his partial digestive tract and donor liver can tolerate.... Guy's been through a lot lately, give him a break. I don't care how powerful he is or how much money he has, cancer's a bitch and I don't wish it on anyone.
  • Has anyone forgot... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:20AM (#31734260)

    That for the longest time, Apple was considered a joke and that the 90's where pretty much a dark age for them. It wasn't really until the sleek imac came out that their fortunes turned around and everything since then has been really a one trick pony (as in the imac, the iphone and the ipad share very similar visual design).

    MS have had their dark age too, but listening to the poster you'd think that Apple were always the hip kid on the block. Personally I think next year is the return of MS (and I've been one of MS's biggest critics... 90% of my machines at home run Linux), given Natal and the Courier. The ipad was a serious lack of imagination... woah, a bigger iphone, whodathunkit? :)

  • by Wyatt Earp (1029) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:23AM (#31734314)

    Where is Bimmer the car? I've never heard that term in the US.

    Looking quick on Google, apparently in the BMW community, good for them.

  • Re:Not really so (Score:5, Informative)

    by DJRumpy (1345787) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:28PM (#31735278)

    I believe the newest browser you can put on Windows 98 is IE5 or IE6. I went through that practice in a virtual machine. IE7 supports only XP and above.

    Vendors on the MS side tend to support their 3rd party products longer. Browsers like Firefox, Opera, etc are 3rd party applications, not MS supported apps. You would be hard pressed to find any vendor that sent out software with Windows 98 software support listed in it's specs. Firefox no longer supports Windows 98 either.

    Jaguar 10.2 was released 8 years ago. It is not unreasonable that it is no longer supported. They have replaced the processor architecture since then, switching from PPC to Intel. The same goes for 10.3, which was supported under PPC. At some point, it makes sense to drop support for a hardware platform that is no longer actively being produced. []

    Considering Windows 98 doesn't even make the chart, would you spend time supporting it? What about Windows 2000? It has .6% of the population, which is a fraction of even Linux numbers.

    Your argument sounds good on the surface, except for the fact that I don't know a single person who still uses 98, ME, or 2000 for that matter. Why would a company waste dollars supporting an infinitesimal population of hardware when an upgrade is only a few hundred dollars. Add to that, the popularity of laptop computers, which are prohibitively expensive to service. It's usually cheaper to replace them if you have any sort of failure outside of the 'disposable' components like HD's, Memory Sims, or optical drives.

    Every business I have worked for in the last 15 years upgrades their PC hardware every 2-4 years. I'm betting most home users do the same but at twice those intervals (4-8 years), either due to desire, or component failure.

    The business model would certainly work well for businesses, and also works well for home users. Mac users tend to have more disposable income. It certainly isn't hurting the Apple bottom line, and you get a leaner OS in the bargain.

    In the end, the 3rd party vendor support is far more important than the OS itself. The oddest thing is that Apple is far more popular with the home user crowd even though the support model would seem to be more in line with business practices in regards to sunsetting old hardware. I can only assume the Mac users have more disposable income is a factor. Although I'm sure there are still PPC's out there still ticking along, the bulk have probably long since upgraded to an Intel Mac.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:41PM (#31735454)

    Umm, generally middle age refers to a period of a person's life, not a point in time. The US census bureau considers middle age to be 35-54, so claiming a company is becoming "middle aged" when it is 35 is not really all that unusual or outside of the normal use of the phrase.

"Right now I feel that I've got my feet on the ground as far as my head is concerned." -- Baseball pitcher Bo Belinsky