Hard, difficult times ahead for Microsoft — dump your stock now!!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20080411/bs_nf/59251

Although I have been saying this stuff for years, it has finally come into sight of the press. Windows Vista has been a totally disappointing flop. Internet explorer has never adhered to web standards. Promises of stability back in 1995, that really didn’t happen until Windows 2000 shipped, and even then, it took several service packs – mostly SP4 – before any kind of stability was finally noticed. Security has been abysmal. It wasn’t until Vista shipped, that Microsoft finally understood that the user should not always run as the admin account. I could go on and on, but I feel like I have said this stuff so many times now, that they have become cliches. Technically, Microsoft has always been behind. They have just been better marketers than their competitors. Apple has finally put together a good marketing campaign, and really stands to gain some market share, especially when compared to Vista. OS X 10.5 (Leopard) has a much, much higher user satisfaction rating than Vista, and I am certainly one happy customer!

Jennifer LeClaire, newsfactor.com

1 hour, 40 minutes ago

Microsoft is in trouble and its flagship Windows operating system is broken, Gartner analysts said at the Emerging Trends conference this week. Analysts Neil MacDonald and Michael Silver offered many reasons why Microsoft may see rougher days ahead.

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The analysts said Microsoft’soperating-system development timesare too long, especially for the level of innovation the company delivers. They also said Windows releases fail to offer a consistent experience between platforms and create compatibility issues. Other vendors, they said, are innovating circles around Microsoft.

These problems translate to the enterprise in unpredictable releases, high management costs, Windows systems that break other applications and prolong testing and adoption time, and overall limited value. That has to be music to the Linux camp’s ears.

Stats to Prove the Point

Gartner offered some statistics to back up this gloomy view. Growth in PC hardware is limited, with Gartner expecting two to eight percent between 2005 and 2011. Emerging markets are a better story with expected growth of 16 to 24 percent for PC hardware, but price sensitivity dampens the optimism. Linux tends to win in developing nations.

“All these things are in opposition to what we’ve seen with people expanding PC use year after year,” MacDonald said.

A transition toward server-agnostic applications could have a major impact on enterprise computing and on Microsoft’s pain. Gartner said 70 to 80 percent of corporate applications require Windows today. But the firm expects a dramatic shift by 2011, when a new wave of OS-agnostic applications will hit the market — specifically, Internet-based apps.

“Sometime in the middle of the next decade, Windows will be playing a much less important role on the desktop,” MacDonald said.

To Everything There is a Season

Everything is dying. It’s not a matter of if, but when — and Windows is no exception, according to Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT. Microsoft’s situation reminds him of the lyrics in Bob Dylan‘s It’s Alright Ma, “he not busy being born is busy dying.”

“I don’t expect to write the epitaph for Windows any time soon, maybe not even in my lifetime,” King said. “But Gartner does bring up some interesting issues. The industry, and perhaps more importantly technology consumers, appear to be rapidly embracing new lower-functionality computing devices, everything from texting on standard cell phones to smartphones and media-enabled phones like Apple‘s iPhone to this new class of ultra-mobile computing devices.”

King’s point is that those devices don’t need Windows Vista functionality. In fact, he said, Microsoft’s decision to extend the life of Windows XP for use on mobile devices is an interesting indication that parts of the IT industry may be fracturing. The old model of more and more powerful desktops or laptops seems to be moving in a significantly different direction.

“In order to take advantage of the opportunities that are ahead of us, Microsoft is going to have to learn to dance to a different tune and do so as quickly as possible,” King said. “The XP decision suggests that the company is willing to take some risks and to act in a way that might be surprising to people. I don’t think that’s the last such interesting move we’ll see from Microsoft.”

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