Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Businesses Microsoft Apple

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.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Microsoft and Apple Rumble Into Middle Age

Comments Filter:
  • Not really so (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sopssa (1498795) * <sopssa@email.com> on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:01AM (#31733974) Journal

    Microsoft has always been loath to change and risk alienating some of its customers

    Uh, maybe if you're only looking at Windows and/or Office products. They also seem to do greatly, so why fix something that isn't broken?

    But with some of their other divisions I wish they didn't change. Anyone else remember such from Microsoft Games as Flight Simulator, Age of Empires series, Halo, Train Simulator, MechWarrior, Links, Midtown Madness, Motocross Madness.. Now that they changed they're not publishing or developing those kind of games anymore. In fact no one is. Microsoft Games is just for Xbox 360 anymore.

    "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."

    Just yesterday slashdotters laughted how Microsoft is burning money on their online division like Bing and other properties, how it's completely useless. Which one it is now, to think long term or not to think?

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

      by SargentDU (1161355) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:08AM (#31734056)
      Many of those games you mention are acquisitions by Microsoft, not developed in-house. That is not innovation, it is acquisition.
      • And Motocross Madness went way downhill. Midtown Madness and Mech Warrior were pretty good fun. There are alternatives to all those games available today though I think. I'm not so sure about really good alternatives to Flight Sim and Train Sim as it's not really in my area of interest, but there must be some..
        • Where's the alternative to MechWarrior? I'm fairly sure that if there were, there wouldn't be a whole deal about MW4 not being released for the community that's still adding to it.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Well having owned both MS products and Apple products, I prefer the MS model of long-term support (so too do businesses apparently).

        "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.

        That sounds really negative against Microsoft doesn't it?

        But another way to look at this quote is that Apple abandons machines too fast, leaving users with computer than refuse to run the latest software. EXAMPLE: I used to have a Mac but since it could not be upgraded higher than 10.3 (2003), it was unable to run the latest browsers. They wouldn't even install.

        In contr

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          "In contrast I can still use my old Win98 laptop and run the latest browsers."

          You think that is progress? You think that is good?

          While it is admirable on one level, it is completely worthless anecdote. I can still run ancient versions of Linux too, you don't see me bragging.

          Apple has a life expectancy built into its products, and doesn't care if people are running 12 year old Operating systems. I call that smart business.

          Think about it this way. Would you expect Win Vista to run on 386? How about entry leve

        • 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.

          http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp [w3schools.com]

          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 Locutus (9039)
        and if what you mentioned is true about them only running on MS XBox then it was also not profit driving which caused Microsoft to purchase these products and then drop all support but MS XBox. It would look like more platform protectionism to me.

        LoB
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Just yesterday slashdotters laughted how Microsoft is burning money on their online division like Bing and other properties, how it's completely useless. Which one it is now, to think long term or not to think?

      They're burning money, yes. But not on anything that gives people surprises. If they're truly doing something massively innovative and useful at the same time, people should be surprised. In terms of investment, it's always possible to increase your risk a whole lot, but it's much more difficult to increase your profit.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by sopssa (1498795) *

        What would be "massively innovative and useful"? I think Courier [engadget.com] looks innovative and way better than iPad and other tablets. Live and the community on Xbox 360 is something not on other devices and the in-game interface quite innovative. But I wouldn't say it's massively innovative, in fact nothing is. Are Google or Apple in some way massively innovative? No, neither one of them are. Apple just takes an open source project and polishes the user experience and interface. There was existing search engines b

    • by sconeu (64226)

      Hell, I look back fondly at Microsoft Olympic Decathlon (circa 1983)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mcgrew (92797) *

      Microsoft has always been loath to change and risk alienating some of its customers

      Uh, maybe if you're only looking at Windows and/or Office products. They also seem to do greatly, so why fix something that isn't broken?

      One thing that alienates me is that they are NOT loathe to change. They change many products so much that the training curve one a product you've already mastered is as great as if you'd bought a competetitor's product. IE, for example, has had its "internet options" in every single one of i

      • by Altus (1034)

        That's not change, that's churn. Making frequent, small and annoying changes to interfaces is just throwing shit against a wall to see what sticks.

      • I don't think it's changed too much. I recently found a Windows 3.1 laptop, and was surprised how similar MS Word's menu and organization was to my current 2003 version. I was able to pick-up and use the old Word with no learning curve whatsoever.

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

      by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:35AM (#31734458)

      Microsoft Games as:

      • Flight Simulator - developed by subLOGIC.
      • Age of Empires series - developed by Ensemble Studios and which withered after MS's acquisition,
      • Halo - developed by Bungie, another company that made awesome products until MS bought them.
      • Train Simulator - developed by Kuju Entertainment and licensed to MS.
      • MechWarrior - developed by Dynamix, is this owned by MS now?
      • Links - developed by Access Software, again bought by MS afterwards.
      • Midtown Madness - Developed by Angel studios, part of Rockstar, later bought by Take2. I don't think this is owned by MS though.
      • Motocross Madness - developed by THQ, part of Rainbow, not MS.

      You've put together a lovely homage to MS's buying out and ruining of good game companies since every good game you came up with was developed by a company that MS bought out after they made something good, or which you thought was made by MS but was actually not. More than half the companies no longer exist having been mothballed by MS.

      • You forgot Rare aka Rareware. They made some awesome games back in the N64 days, that really pushed the console to its limits (like Banjo Kazooie 2). Then Microsoft bought them. What has Rare done since then? Nothing of note.

      • Halo - developed by Bungie, another company that made awesome products until MS bought them.

        And don't forget that Halo was originally written [wikipedia.org] for the Mac.

    • by Locutus (9039)
      <quote>Just yesterday slashdotters laughted how Microsoft is burning money on their online division like Bing and other properties, how it's completely useless. Which one it is now, to think long term or not to think?</quote><p>

      I believe there are two different threads there. For one, Microsoft spends billions annually year after year on products and projects which have failed to make them profits. Things like MSN, MS Live Search-aka BING, XBox, Windows CE and many more. No other business
    • because if you don't "fix" what's "not broken", the competion will steamroll you with newer, fancier models and you'll end up broken.

      using car analogies, there's nothing "broken" in this year's models from every manufacturer, but if they don't "fix" them, next year they'll be deep in the red, watching the competition take all the market.

      sales are driven by innovation. microsoft only innovation was bringing a GUI that you could slap in a generic, gray box, low cost PC. but this is old news. people want other

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bert64 (520050)

      Microsoft bought most of those games, and as you've pointed out those games have generally gone downhill since MS bought them...
      Windows/Office only sell because of inertia, they are far from being best in class and wouldn't be able to stand on their own in a freely competitive market.
      MS is wasting lots of money trying to out-do google, but they are pretty much following the same strategy they always have - release inferior products, and leverage existing market share in other areas to promote the inferior p

  • by symbolset (646467) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:06AM (#31734014) Journal
    It's not a matter of if Apple will pass Microsoft now, but when. Google's also making a run at it, but they've got a lot further to go.
    • It's not a matter of if Apple will pass Microsoft now, but when

      I used to dream about this kind of thing as a teenager.. with both Macs and Amigas. Nice in a nostalgic kind of way that one of them has made it. Shame I've lost interest now because of their years of DRM in music and now a differently form of DRM on all their gadgets. If they open things up more then I will probably become interested again though.

      OSX isn't bad, but Ubuntu is generally more configurable, and just easier to set up and maintain via the repositories. I love being able to install Perl modules w

      • by Winckle (870180)

        OSX has all the usual programming language suspects built in, and as for a synaptic clone, try fink or mac ports.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by thepike (1781582)

      It's not a matter of if Apple will pass Microsoft now, but when. Google's also making a run at it, but they've got a lot further to go.

      The question is, when Apple passes Microsoft, who will become the new cool company? Remember back when Microsoft was young and hip? Now everyone hates them (okay not everyone, but it is cool to rip on them now and again). If Apple does overtake Microsoft, it seems likely the same thing will happen to them.

      And, if Apple does take over the market, how hard are they going to be hit by antitrust suits? If Microsoft isn't allowed to bundle IE with Windows (in Europe) I feel like someone might take issue with

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dzfoo (772245)

        Tell me in which universe was Microsoft ever "hip"? Young, yes of course, in chronology; but I don't ever recall them being anywhere near "cool."

              -dZ.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by teg (97890)

      It's not a matter of if Apple will pass Microsoft now, but when. Google's also making a run at it, but they've got a lot further to go.

      Apple's market cap is driven by the same hip image as their hardware. Now, I like Apple products. They are executing extremely well, and delivering high quality, market leading products in their niches. But this is already part of their stock price, and then some. Apple has a 50% higher P/E than Microsoft, and that is a bit much.

  • Middle age? (Score:4, Funny)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:08AM (#31734054) Homepage Journal

    Thanks for reminding me how damned old I'm getting.

    • by jd (1658)

      It's ok. It's just a Slashdot typo. They meant to say "Microsoft and Apple Creak Into The Middle Ages".

    • by sznupi (719324)

      At least summary also rightfully reminds you that large part of getting old is whether you choose to do it or not...

    • Thanks for reminding me how damned old I'm getting.

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing. I mean, I can only wish I was "rumbling" into 35 years old again. That was some time back for this old fossil.

  • Woo hoo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by swestcott (44407) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:08AM (#31734062) Homepage

    Sorry but that's my wife quoted as the co author of the Digitally Daunted book I am the other co author and well to have that on slashdot is CRAZY cool and I am going to waste Karma on that

  • Microsoft and Apple Rumble Into the Middle Ages?

    I though it was going to be some pointed commentary on DRM or something.
    • by jd (1658)

      Nah, more a pointed commentary on Microsoft's Witchfinder General and Apple's attempt to burn clones at the stake.

    • by sznupi (719324)

      I was almost hoping for the news of some locallised event which is described in few scifi/fantasy works, of all complex technology suddenly ceasing to fucntion.

  • by PeeAitchPee (712652) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:10AM (#31734116)
    God, I just lost 40 IQ points reading the garbage summary. Can you be any more biased?
    • by SnowDog74 (745848)

      Bias is ok, as long as one's opinions are well supported by fact.

      While Apple is gaining ground this is just a poorly constructed summary, right down to using market capitalization as a metric for the strength of the company (see my post some lines below).

      • by gsgriffin (1195771) on Monday April 05, 2010 @12:09PM (#31734960)
        I'm allowed to disagree on /. I hope. Bias that is trying to sway people by leaving out all the facts is not helpful.

        Apple is the THE most monopolistic company involved in electronics today. At one time, the fanboys used to point fingers at MS at being the big monopoly. Now Apple controls all software, hardware, distribution for everything the touch. Sure they make good products, but they were also positioned in such a way that they could screw over their base and make huge OS changes over the past 30 years and leave all previous software behind. You upgrade to new OS, you buy all new software too. Apple could do that with only a handful of buyers. MS on the other hand had millions of corporate and individual users that couldn't afford to purchase completely new versions of all of their software they bought.

        Did MS lack the ability to change and advance fast, OR did market mandate that they move slow? I think a reasonable argument could be made for the latter. I know that through each new version of OS that MS produced, I was able to keep the thousands of dollars of software I had invested in. Now with Win 7 working wonderfully, I would expect to see more Apple attacks so they don't lose ground against MS.
  • It is a hardware company vs. a software company.
    Maybe 20 years ago they competed but that is no longer the case.

    Nothing bias against either side but Apple's main focus is gadgets while Microsoft's main focus is software. Yes, Apple makes software and yes Microsoft makes hardware but neither are their main focuses.
    • by sznupi (719324)

      Actually, 20 years ago the disctinction you point at was much more pronounced. Microsoft was clearly a software company, Apple of course relied strongly on hardware sales.

      And while the latter is still true (though they are building a digital distribution market with a software that's also available for Windows), the former is not. What, you haven't heard about X-box?

      They are in the same spot of course, but they are closer.

    • by MBGMorden (803437)

      It's a valid comparison because they make a ton of competing products. BOTH make both hardware and software. Mac OS X vs Windows. iTunes vs Xbox360/Zune MarketPlace. iPhoneOS vs Windows Mobile. iPod vs Zune. Safari vs IE. Only someone wanting to argue pointless semantics can claim that the two aren't competing. You can't define boxes to try and throw the two into and then claim them separate.

  • Great I am older than Microsoft by Two Days. I am not sure if this makes me fell happy or sad.

    Middle age starting to show, grey hairs poking through, kids are more energetic, getting more canny, income reasonsable. Well enough about Microsoft - what about me ?

    • by Lumpy (12016)

      Then you are not middle aged....

      Middle age = buying a sportscar and motorcycle and getting a mistress...

      Let me tell you, buying 4 sports cars is way cheaper than a mistress.

  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:12AM (#31734144)

    I read that as "MS and Apple rumble into the middle ages".

    I did have time to imagine computer managed fortresses, before reading the rest of the news.

    Yes, it was a sad disappointment.

  • by necro81 (917438) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:16AM (#31734194) Journal

    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

    There's another component you need if you want to use fearless leadership and disruptive innovation to be the bedrock of your success: you need to also be right. Apple's taken some big product risks. None of them were exactly bet-the-company-big risks, but pretty risky. The fact that we're still talking about Apple is that they've taken chances and been right. There are plenty of companies out there that had a scary-cool product or technology, something transformational, but missed something along the way: misjudged the market, misjudged their capital needs, rushed a buggy product to market, etc. Don't hear much from those companies anymore.

    While there's something to be said for bluffing in poker and going all in, it's much better to go all in when you've got the cards. You can bluff and buy the pot only so many times before someone calls you on it and you're out of the game.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Altus (1034)

      Both Microsoft and Apple are big enough that they can make large bets on new technology and ideas and have them fail. You are right that other companies flame out when they make a large bet and it doesn't work out, but that doesn't apply here.

      If the iPad were a complete flop and nobody bought it, that wouldn't kill apple. It wouldn't even cripple them. It would represent a large waste of time and capitol, but the company would go on doing what it does. that is the advantage of being a big company.

      • Both Microsoft and Apple are big enough that they can make large bets on new technology and ideas and have them fail. You are right that other companies flame out when they make a large bet and it doesn't work out, but that doesn't apply here. If the iPad were a complete flop and nobody bought it, that wouldn't kill apple. It wouldn't even cripple them. It would represent a large waste of time and capitol, but the company would go on doing what it does. that is the advantage of being a big company.

        Hmm, I'm going to have to disagree in general. While you're right about the iPad, that is not reflective of past Apple's gambles. Buying Next and putting Jobs back in charge, for example, could have killed Apple. Betting big on all in one machines and laptops , when those were both niche markets could have killed the company. Licensing OS 9 to other hardware makers nearly did kill them, and buying out and abandoning that strategy could have done the same if it had not worked (not that they had anything to l

    • None of them were exactly bet-the-company-big risks, but pretty risky.

      While I agree with your post almost entirely, I think that the introduction of the original Bondi Blue iMac was indeed a bet-the-company-big risk. The company was at a very low ebb with relatively little capital and a shrinking market share at that time. Many people were predicting it's imminent demise. If the iMac gambit had failed, there would be no Apple, Inc. now.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:16AM (#31734204)

    Microsoft has been consistently successful - in and of itself, that makes it hard to "leave the past behind". Over the same period, Apple made a slew of really bad decisions which brought the company pretty much into irrelevance by the mid-1990s. For Apple, leaving the past behind was an asset - Apple basically had to make itself over just to survive. That's served Apple well this decade, but let's not forget where they were (compared to Microsoft) previously.

    • by RevWaldo (1186281)

      Microsoft has been consistently successful - in and of itself, that makes it hard to "leave the past behind".

      More to the point, its customers won't let it. How many times has consumer backlash basically forced Microsoft to continue support for older products, backwards compatibility for documents going back decades, and "classic" views within their newer products?

  • by SplicerNYC (1782242) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:17AM (#31734212)
    Could not be more obnoxious sounding. Only hipsters love hipsters because they often don't see how truly annoying they are.
    • Could not be more obnoxious sounding. Only hipsters love hipsters because they often don't see how truly annoying they are.

      But at least the description is accurate. *ducks*

  • Market capitalization is essentially meaningless as a measure of a company's strength, i.e. it's ability to continue operations while also facilitating growth in a competitive environment.

    All that market capitalization ever tells you is what some fool would pay to acquire the company whole at the current market price quotation.

    It doesn't reflect what one should pay.

    It doesn't reflect what the book value of the company is (Assets minus liabilities minus intangibles).

    It doesn't reflect what the intrinsic valu

    • by countach (534280)

      Actually, market cap should reflect all of those things, if the market is doing its job. Now maybe you think you know better than the market. In which case you are either an arrogant fool, or very very rich since you can be a Warren Buffet and outthink the market. The question is, which one are you?

      • by Knara (9377)

        Yeah, there's no middle ground there at all. You're so smrt.

        The idea that the market is perfectly (or even mostly) efficient is stupid and shows you don't really know what you're talking about.

        • Hah! Simpsons reference for the win! I can picture Homer setting his house on fire right now!
      • by besalope (1186101)

        And if the past couple years of financial unrest has taught us anything, the market and its analysts aren't nearly as knowledgeable as we are led to believe. A great example would be the people that followed Jim Cramer on Mad Money, the best option was doing the exact opposite of what he said. It is a mixture of corporations playing with numbers to look better than they are, and the herd mentality of investors.

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        Yes, because the market worked perfectly in Phoenix where a 1500 sq.ft. house sold for $500,000 three years ago and today can't be given away. It sure worked for Lehman Brothers, WaMu, and all the other banks that had stellar stock prices until *after* news broke that they were actually worthless and the shareholders needed to head for the fire exits or their 'investment' would quickly evaporate into a stack of pennies. Yep, good old market, always smarter than the individuals.

        The market is great at decid

      • If the market really took all of that into account, and was working on absolutely real, honest and predictable numbers, I would agree with you. Instead, it operates on a significant amount of hype, lies and half-truths; otherwise you wouldn't have insane boom-bust cycles as we've seen recently, both for the market as a whole and for individual companies. If Ford was worth $15 a share at the beginning of 2005, and it's worth $14 a share now, was it really only worth $1.40 on November 21, 2008? Or was that
  • Has anyone forgot... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    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 bee

  • by Mojo66 (1131579)
    IMHO Microsoft's dominance has reached its peak, 2010 will mark the beginning of the end of the firm grip that they had over the OS market. Windows is so bloated from carrying all the compatibility crap, regarding both software and hardware, while OS X only needs to carry what is needed, given that they only need to support their own hardware. For example, Snow Leopard has *lost* size compared to Leopard because they were shifting out PPC support. Microsoft will always have to support thousands of different
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pojut (1027544)

      . Due to their business strategy to lock customers into their products, i.e. not complying to standards, they don't need to innovate, they just have to make sure that the locks are still firm. A good indication of the beginning of the end is that it is starting to get lucrative for companies to break out of the Microsoft prison. Apple is doing the right thing, they keep their products simple, they don't try to appeal to every human crawling the face of the earth, and they emphasize on products that actually *work*.

      Hold the fuck on. Are you really suggestion that Apple is less restrictive than Microsoft? Seriously?

      Oh yeah, I forgot... the App Store and iTunes are the pinnacles of consumer empowerment. I mean, it doesn't get much better than having to hack your device so you can use non-Apple approved programs, or having your music player wipe itself completely because you hooked it up to a different computer.

      Yup. Apple really knows how to let people use their purchases freely. ::golf clap::

    • by rrhal (88665)
      The main reason Apple is a little more spry is that it had to change or go bankrupt. It had to innovate and compete. Microsoft is still riding its dominate position (monopoly) on the desktop and really hasn't learned any new tricks. As the desktop moves to the palm top I guess we'll see if M$ can adapt its strategy to the mobile market very effectively. Apple gets to do what Apple does well - supply and OS/hardware combo that has a well thought out user interface.
    • You can go back 15 years and see people claiming the same thing about Windows 95 -- "the end of Microsoft." Or four years and read about iPod versus Zune -- "the end of Microsoft." Or Google versus Bing more recently. Why exactly do you think it will be different this time around?

      Due to their business strategy to lock customers into their products, i.e. not complying to standards

      Are you sure you're not talking about Apple here? Doesn't iTunes make users jump through hoops to get MP3s that will play an

  • by Angst Badger (8636) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:29AM (#31734374)

    Apple has basically avoided the corporate market, which is where most of Microsoft's money is made, however much ground they are gaining in the home market. Toes are being stepped on, to be sure, but I just don't see Microsoft and Apple as being on a collision course for the most part. Given the conservative nature of the corporate market, what's much more likely is that Apple will end up as the dominant home player, at least for a while, and Microsoft will follow IBM into being solely a corporate player.

    The danger to Apple is that very large enterprises always ossify, and the market they are coming to dominate in the short term -- which is basically home entertainment electronics -- is vastly more competitive and unstable than the PC market has ever been (or likely ever will be). When much of your appeal is driven by current fashion trends, you're vulnerable in a way that a vendor of business software seldom faces.

    Note that I'm not saying Apple is doomed or any similar nonsense. Apple is doing very well and probably will continue to do so for some time, and Microsoft will probably continue its slow decline. What I'm saying is that Microsoft and Apple are less and less in competition with each other. Apple will probably spend a lot more time in the future competing with companies like Sony and JVC and LG than it does with Microsoft, and they'll most likely do very well, at least as long as Jobs is at the helm. After Jobs, I'm rather less sanguine about Apple's future because people like Jobs (or, for that matter, Gates) tend not to groom their successors very well.

    • I think Apple is back dooring the corporate market via the iPhone. I've run into a couple of companies lately that are all Microsoft, all the time on the desktop but have made the iPhone as their corporate standard.

      And in some cases, Macs are still hanging in there in marketing/publishing roles within businesses even though the "need" for a Mac in that role has long passed (IMHO).

      • I'd agree with this. The company I'm working for has started to support the iPhone (I can't wait to replace my stupid Blackberry!), and since then, the halo effect has moved outwards, and they are supporting the use of MacBooks. My Dell laptop is up for replacement later this year; I'm hoping to get a MacBook pro...
    • Toes are being stepped on, to be sure, but I just don't see Microsoft and Apple as being on a collision course for the most part. Given the conservative nature of the corporate market, what's much more likely is that Apple will end up as the dominant home player, at least for a while, and Microsoft will follow IBM into being solely a corporate player.

      I see it a little differently. Apple is not targeting the corporate market, but others are and Apple is enabling those others to be successful. MS makes a lot of money, but their business strategy is based upon locking people in and being dominant. If they lose the lock-in or the dominance, they will lose ground very, very quickly to other players, including Apple unless MS can adapt and completely turn around their own ossified corporate culture.

    • It isn't just that large enterprises always ossify(though that is usually true), it's that Apple's style absolutely relies on taste, which is a hard commodity to keep around(particularly after Jobs eventually snuffs it).

      Apple has, for a company of its size, a tiny product line. Very few choices, not a whole lot of backward compatibility(more than the Telcomm classic of "want a new OS revision? Buy a new phone and a new 2 year contract"; but way less than corporate-world Microsoft stuff). As long as the f
    • You make an interesting point, but beyond the other response to yours about the iPhone, I'm interested in seeing how the iPad plays into some markets. I wouldn't be surprised to see iPads showing up in a bunch of markets beyond "home". I'm thinking:
      - Education, selling them at a steep discount pre-populated with textbooks to universities and even high schools.
      - Medical. So long, clipboards!
      - Sales and other personal-interaction-heavy industries where someone might want to be able to do presentations o
  • Aquisitions (Score:2, Interesting)

    by countach (534280)

    Microsoft's appetite for aquisitions is part of its downfall. They are constantly distracted by taking over other companies, some of them with very little to do with their core competancy. Often these aquisitions are simply lost money because they take them over and ruin a perfectly good business. Contrast Apple who rarely do aquisitions, and when they do they've got a really really good reason for it, related to a strategic vision.

  • by Flavio (12072) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:35AM (#31734466)

    If Apple suddenly disappeared, people could easily get equivalent products from other manufacturers, since other companies sell equivalent phones, MP3 players and computers. While they don't have the Apple brand and may not be as polished in some aspects, they do essentially the same things.

    On the other hand, the reason Microsoft has so much overhead is that they provide infinite backwards compatibility for their corporate clients. People love bashing Microsoft, but they forget that MS must provide binary compatibility for their clients who unconditionally have to run really old apps, because their businesses depend on it. Windows must run on a huge variety of hardware combinations, and must be supported over 10+ year lifespans. For example, Windows XP licenses were sold from 2002 to early 2009, and Microsoft will support this platform for many years into the future.

    Apple products and Linux distributions often break compatibility between revisions, for legitimate technical reasons. But Microsoft can't do that even when they want to, because their hundreds of thousands of corporate clients can't be expected to update all their software accordingly. The thousands of hardware manufacturers won't all update their drivers either. Regardless, Microsoft tried doing that and Vista happened. It took several years for manufacturers and Microsoft itself to catch up, and we got Windows 7, which works quite well.

    So if Microsoft is reluctant to leave the past, it's because it has contractual obligations to support its clients. Apple makes no such commitments and sells primarily to end users. Thus, it can afford to make more aggressive changes.

    • by MikeURL (890801)
      Apple is, I think, selling a lifestyle within a closed ecosphere. You can now get pretty much all your electronic gadgets through Apple, from the smartphone, to the laptop, to the PC, to the iPad, iTouch, iPod.

      If you think about their lineup I think all they are missing is a TV device. If they had that then they could pretty much offer all the form factors that people use LCD screens for. So i guess the question is how far off the iTV is. Give the iTV built in wi-fi and the whole home could be set up
  • You want idle - room 12A, just along the corridor.

  • by drolli (522659) on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:39AM (#31734520) Journal
    anybody remember IBM? Remember how anybody predicted IBM would die, go bancrupt or beocme irrelevant? Good. Big companies have the tendency to sometimes have weak phases and then - if they realize what is going on - strong phases.
  • Innovation! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mqduck (232646) <mqduck AT mqduck DOT net> on Monday April 05, 2010 @11:40AM (#31734534)

    "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"

    Lies! You (mercifully?) forget Microsoft Bob. Also, the first time I ever heard of tablet computers is when I heard Bill Gates hyping it as the next revolutionary step forward for computers at least five years ago. The issue is not so much Microsoft's boldness as its incompetency (though the fact that the media doesn't treat Gate's words as inspired prophesy like it does Jobs's probably has something to do with it, too).

  • ... while Microsoft, to some, appears a tad flabby in the middle — a Chrysler Town & Country driver with a 9 pm bedtime ...

    Yeah, you hipsters sneer at a 9 pm bedtime. But while you punks are rolling into work at nine-ish and don't really get going until around 10 or so .. I've gotten in a full day's work and I'm out the door by 4 pm to enjoy a beautiful summer spring day.

    Early bird, worm, etc.

    • by mqduck (232646)

      Please allow me to continue pretending that Hipsters and Punks are separate and incompatible social groups.

      Anyway, the Young People have been preferring to stay up late for far longer than the hipster trend (even longer than the original hipsters in the 1950s (you have my permission to call Beatniks compatible with Punks if you like), probably ever since God invented light bulbs and leisure time).

  • Market cap? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by edrobinson (976396)
    WTF does what the market think of a company's stock have to do with the real world?
  • And Apple is ripping benefits for first capitalizing on that. Non-technical users want a well built appliance with a single point of support that runs a few dozen applications. This may not be the product that big corporation want, as central administration and customization is limited. This is not what geeks want, as much of both hardware and software is locked up and proprietary. But for many users its worth sacrificing one kind of freedom (ability to run pr0n games or web servers on their phone) for anot

  • When i partially read the title tought that was about Microsoft and Apple moving us to the Middle Age, but patents and their economic policies are from a bit later than those dates. The least i could imagine that was about those companies getting old.

If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments. -- Earl Wilson

Working...