Declan had a funny rant about the latest of Microsoft’s attempts to win our web development hearts back and flamed a Microsoft Stooge in the process. But why do they need to win our hearts? You don’t see Apple playing this game and Mac people are almost on par with Mormons when it comes to ranting about their shiny toys.
The major complain I have against Microsoft is that they are followers. They want to control the market place but don’t know where to take it. Open Source and the Standards groups have been leading the way with web technology since Mozilla.org started up. Microsoft is still in beta with their IE7 that touts the ‘latest technologies’ (i.e. RSS, tabbed browsing, CSS1) that FireFox has had for a couple of years now, and even Safari, the product of a much smaller company, is already up to speed. Hell, even Opera is leaving IE behind in the browser game.
It begs the question: How can a company so far behind the eight-ball still be profitable? The answer is, as Declan noted, they have a monopoly and are much larger/richer than everyone else. Ever. Unfair trade practice the High Courts of America called it I believe. They don’t compete, they assassinate. IE gained its market share not though competition but though Defaultisum (i.e. it was the default browser on all the new Windows95 OEM machines). They won the browser war and then what did they do? They stopped working on the browser all together. Suffering thought the whole thing as a web developer, I’m glad it wasn’t all for nothing.
But this is the nature of the ‘free market’. When MS is put up against completion that isn’t susceptible to their economic bulk (i.e. Open Source), they come in 3rd place. Their laps in browser development has allowed for the birth of the best browser that web web has seen to date and is aggressively earning its market share, FireFox.
The Open Source movement is a direct response to Microsoft incompetence and lack of vision. Its born from the frustration that its third rate products has generated.
The answer to the initial question is Microsoft needs to win back our trust because of all the dodgy business practices they have used to stay in the game. We’re at the dawn of an new era where company’s that proved quality good and services, which as Apple and Google, are winning the hearts and minds of users by simply thinking about doing a good job and not about staying on top no matter what.