Archive for March, 2009

Microsoft… AGAIN…

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009

I guess I just don’t have much self control.  It seems I can’t go six months without writing something negative about Microsoft.  I don’t think its my fault.  Microsoft just makes it so easy sometimes.  Lets examine a couple of quotes by Microsoft management and then you tell me if I’m wrong or not (Have I ever been wrong :) )

Here is the man himself – Steve Ballmer

“Apple gained about one point [in global market share], but now I think the tide has really turned back the other direction.  The economy is helpful. Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment — same piece of hardware — paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that’s a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be.”

This is the CEO of Microsoft?  Here is my beef with this statement.  First, while Apple does demand a premium for their products $500 is a modest exaggeration given the quality of the parts Apple uses, but my real issue is that he seemingly doesn’t understand at all the value that Apple brings to the table.  Ballmer very unwisely compares the hardware that comes on a standard PC with Mac hardware and then assumes that the operating systems are of equal value.  In short he says a PC that comes with Vista for $1000 is a better value than a Mac with the same hardware that comes with OSX that costs between $1000-$1500.  The problem is that almost no Mac users would agree with that statement.  I’m sure I am a little out of the norm, but I would happily pay 5x the price for a Mac because I have no patience for Microsoft’s products and their constant problems.  If he REALLY believes that a few hundred dollars are going to sway a significant portion of Apple’s user base back to Windows he is grossly mistaken.  People are not only buying Macs, but they are increasing their share at TWICE the rate of HP and Dell.  Why?  Isn’t this a recession?  The reason is because they recognize VALUE.  Notice I didn’t say cheaper.  Apple’s operating system is so much better than anything coming out of Redmond these days that people are switching at a record pace.  Microsoft has put themselves in the poor position of having to compete on price because they can’t compete on quality.  Hopefully Windows 7 will improve things and force both companies to improve their products at a rapid pace.

Ok next quote – IE General Manager Dean Hachamovitch

“We’re going to keep making the script engines faster (but) right now it’s not clear how many people are gated by script performance.  JavaScript comprises a small portion of how fast a Web page will render. It is a piece, but by no means the holy grail.”

I don’t think this guy could be more wrong.  IT IS THE HOLY GRAIL.  He is SO wrong that I’m willing to put $10,000 on it.  If Microsoft doesn’t publicly say in the next 12 months that they are actively working on making javascript faster and that javascript is the primary driving factor for web based services and that fast javascript execution is the key to making web based services usable then I will donate $10,000 to the Make A Wish foundation in Microsoft’s name.

The reason web based applications are limited in scope and use is DIRECTLY related to javascript speed.  The issue is no longer bandwidth or processing power, it is the javascript engine.  There is a reason why Mozilla spends a great deal of time on TraceMonkey, and Apple on Nitro (Webkit), and Google on Chrome’s V8.  They know that the javascript engine is what will drive the use of their browsers in the future.

Microsoft is more than likely simply downplaying this because their javascript engine is weak compared to their competitors.  They better secretly be taking javascript performance very seriously now or they will soon find themselves too far behind with an inferior product (Again…) because of their lack or forethought.

Matt Heaton /