Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Fear the penguin? NOT!

In today's issue of the Redmond Channel Partner newsletter, there were so many errors in the section mentioned below that I was forced to reply.

In your newsletter article, titled, READERS SAY, 'FEAR THE PENGUIN!, I am afraid the responders made so many glaring errors that I am forced to debunk here in order to stop the confusion.

I will be blogging my entire answer as well here.

Starting with “Mike” who writes

First off, his reasons for selling his company because of ‘disenchantment with Microsoft’s offerings’ were never enumerated.

Secondly, to say that Microsoft is lacking in its mission or zeal in courting developers is plain wrong. Microsoft engages customers from several angles and provides the resources, in several languages, to do so. There are so many programs directed at developers – MSDN, ISVs – Empower for ISVs, to beginners – the Express Editions, that I cannot help but wonder what he’s talking about.

However, Mike gets to it with the next sentence, namely, distributing fully-working virtual machines with a working copy of Windows on them.

Is he kidding? Why would you be allowed to distribute fully-working VMs of software licensed for one system only?

Then the marketing savvy of Ubuntu?

While I know that his experience, indeed, all our experiences with Vista™, are subjective, I cannot help but ask what functions in Vista are a step back.

As a user of Vista since it was the Windows codename Longhorn beta, I do not have the same experiences and would like to know what I missed in order to both help my clients and my firm, and also to escalate those issues to Microsoft for resolution.

One area in which I agree with Mike completely in is his assertion that the landscape would look different in three years. In three years, the landscape would look a little different, with Linux having lost just a little more ground as customers come to realize that the promises of Linux zealots about productivity gains over Windows were not only shallow, but also totally devoid of reality.

We get to “Bill”

In his post, Bill starts out by praising Windows Server SBS, and then brings out his flensing knife, stating that it requires a well-trained IT person to run it.

Very untrue. It does require a well-trained person to install and configure it. However, it does not require that that person be around to babysit it.

Bill states: "A SOHO will often have less than 10 computers in the entire office and about half of these should be servers for safety, according to Microsoft recommendations.”

That is about as untrue as it gets. 50% of the computers in a 10-system SOHO/branch office should be servers? Bill, stop! Really STOP!

He then goes into his rationale for that wild and completely erroneous declaration. Microsoft established Windows Server SBS as a single-server system. Period. In fact, using multiple boxes ad described by Bill is totally unsupported. I challenge him to reveal any official information from Microsoft describing what he is saying.

In larger enterprises, what he describes is the recommended configuration. However, at that time, you would have moved out of the realm of Windows Server SBS and into BackOffice Server.

That said, all of his arguments regarding the hardware requirements for Windows Server SBS are invalid and hereby discarded.

Linux server has a place in computing, just not in SMB computing. It, and not Windows in any version, requires a body in place to support it.

It is amazing to note that IT pros, who think nothing of tinkering with source code and recompiling stuff, would foist that on small businesses with Linux, making the specious argument that it is better or easier than Linux.

Lance’s rants are, to put it kindly and politely, somewhat nonsensical. My replies to his points on Microsoft’s customer unfriendliness:

  1. 100% the discretion of system vendor
  2. To reduce piracy.
  3. See #2
  4. See #2
  5. ???
  6. To protect the creative properties of musicians
  7. There is NO DRM in Windows Vista.
  8. How so? Any different from the EULA restrictions in a DVD, OS2, Solaris, Oracle?
  9. HDCP – I give you that.
  10. So securing a system is now a Bad Thing?
  11. So not true. Robert McLaws, of Windows-Now.com, has a post here that details the true cost of Microsoft Windows from version 1.0. After reading it, I am sure Lance would want to take this one back as well.
  12. ???

What he does not realize it that Microsoft has a fiduciary duty to its owners, employees, and customers to protect its IP? That is being in the customer interest.

Furthermore, if Microsoft or Windows weren’t there, where would Linux zealots get their ideas?

He also states that Microsoft is neglecting legitimate customers in pursuit of a small number of pirates. I do not know about him, but if you are ever in Asia, and have a street hawker come up to you with a DVD full of Microsoft software for sale at the equivalent of $10, you would freak out if you were Bill G. In addition, it must have warmed the hearts of holders of MSFT to hear the president of Romania tell of how piracy delivered his country.

When tagged, customers are able to revalidate their systems online or offline. Not outrageous at all.

Contrary to what Lance would have us believe, consumers are not clamoring for alternatives to Windows. It is the IT cognoscente that wants change, partly for some misguided need to root for the underdog, and partly because it keeps them and their jobs relevant to the great unwashed who think that they are delivering some sort of valueadd when they spew forth all that jargon.

My replies to his suggestions for customer-friendliness are:

  1. Actually, it is not. Vista Ultimate, as its moniker suggests, it the ne plus ultra of Windows. As a premium product, it carries a premium price, just as a Maybach does. As for the price discrepancy in Europe, that is up to a) The current tax structure in Great Britain, b) the cost of doing business, there, for which you can thank Kroes and the absurd EU office of Competition, and c) the
  2. How then would you mitigate the piracy issue?
  3. Same as #2
  4. That statement makes absolutely no sense to me
  5. I have no problem with WGA. And lots of people I know, including lots of clients concur
  6. Why? How many people know how to install an OS? Just because you do, doesn’t make it the norm. Moreover, if they are comfortable with Windows, what is wrong with that?

Lance’s final wish, that there be competition for Microsoft was a head-scratcher! How does he want that accomplished? Like they want in Europe, by government fiat? Or like Penfield-Jackson wanted: by dividing Microsoft into three companies? How, buddy?

In closing, I have to wonder about the disproportional coverage Linux gets relative to its importance, both on desktops and as servers. In an ideal world, it should have coverage proportional to the 4% or so of the market it commands.

For years, it has been touted as the Second Coming, only to have that event pushed back.

Folks, this ain’t happening!

There you have it.

© 2007, John Obeto II for SmallBizVista.com®

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