Will Longhorn will be the end of MS?


Name is bond, Julian Bond. And he says Longhorn will be the end of MS. And he is a happy Windows XP user. “MS is getting into the classic big software project mentality. So finally I’m being forced into making a choice that I otherwise could have put off for a bit longer. … everyone who currently uses XP is going to be faced with the same choice I am.”



In my opinion, you might be taking your observations too far to draw a conclusion. I think I fit the criteria you described yourself as, and I had seen computers such as these.

From the scenario you mentioned, it is quite clear that the fault is not with Microsoft to make your friend’s computer to crash. There are a few parties, other than Microsoft, that are at fault:

1. Symantec products are known to crash a lot of incompatible programs and are known to slow down the system. If you said ‘Longhorn will be the end of MS’, I would rather believe that ‘every new version of Symantec Antivirus is the end of Symantec’. Apparently, Symantec’s customers are not consumers like us. Their biggest customers are the corporate users. This is also one of the reasons why Microsoft started to work on its on Antivirus and Antispyware – because no other companies will known MS’s own OS better than MS itself, and by doing so it will eliminate all the embrarassing incompatibility of the anti-virus products whenever you upgrade Windows.

2. Toshiba, on one hand, tries to bundle as many software as possible to make the computer sound more ‘value-added’ to sell well; while on the other hand, their technicians who tune the computer ignore the usuability of the system for their customers. It is more obvious to me that the technicians of these computer companies do not care their customers more than Microsoft does. For example, some computers will come with Yahoo! software (which are basically adware, IMO, and that’s what makes IE to have 5 toolbars), because Yahoo! endorsed the computer manufacturer – but not Microsoft – to do so. Who is to blame when the computer goes wrong, however? Microsoft – because they have always been bullied.

The reason why switching to Apple works is because Apple governs the manufacturing of its own hardware and software, and that ensures no external manufacturers would add useless software to clog up the desktop. This is a wise move for Apple. Imagine what would happen if HP does iMac? You will get ‘skins’ like what they did to iPod, and you will probably get a bunch of ‘goodies’ that will add 5 toolbars to Safari browser.

If you have installed Windows XP for a new computer, you know how clean the desktop is, and you know how clean IE is in the beginning. And it won’t crash. And it’s fast.

3. Skype is also at fault. The software is a ‘BETA’, and this is the warning sign that the software will crash. As the saying goes, ‘Haste makes Waste’. The recent trend of Beta software pushes all these immature program into the download scene, assuming that all users are geeks that know how to fix their computer in case the Beta crashes. No software with a giant user base should be a beta. The Skype team is working for its own fame instead of for individual customers.

For these reasons above, there is no way the article would be concluded as ‘Why Longhorn will be the end of MS’. DRM is a completely unrelated issue of your friend’s computer scenario.

As for DRM, the creators of software, music or movies have the right to choose whether they release their media with digital rights protection or not. Microsoft simply provides the tool. It does not force all programmers to release their software with DRM. It does not force all musicians to release their songs with DRM. Any musicians can still release an MP3 on the net, and Windows Media Player will still play it. It is the recording industry that releases WMAs with DRM protection. And they chose to restrict their users. If you don’t like your bags to be searched in an airport, don’t blame the security guard, blame those who decided it. If you don’t like DRM, don’t blame Microsoft, blame those who adds it in your music file.

Thanks for your article, Julian.

Julian Bond

For it is I !

Samantha. The difference now compared with the XP launch is that Mac OSX and Linux are that much more polished and professional. I think MAC OSX genuinely is an alternative now for the general public. The one thing that holds me back is the lock in implied by a single hardware *and* software supplier. Linux as a desktop OS is improving but it’s still a long way from being suitable for non-technical people.

But the real story here is not the alternatives or that the Vista launch is another wake up call to people to at least consider switching. It’s that XP in the hands of the average non-technical user sucks. Big time. If you don’t believe me, just walk next door to your non-technical neighbour with the PC, Broadband and a couple of teenage kids. You’ll find a machine that is a total mess and pretty much unusable.


If anyone remembers the Windows XP launch back in 2001, it was filled with much the same kinds of discussions. I myself counted myself among those who “wouldn’t upgrade” and would “look at any alternative before buying XP” and now, I’ve been a happy XP user for four years.

Having dinked around with Linux 3-4 times since then, I’ve come to the conclusion each time that I’d rather have Windows any day then the hassles that come along with Linux, and I despise the lack of ability to tinker with Mac hardware like I would with a PC (the inflated price lf Macs notwithstanding). Not to mention that I would lose several current applications that I use on a daily basis that I have paid for and refuse to abandon because there are no versions for alternate operating systems. Yes, there are alternative software choices, but the reason I chose these pieces of software and not others was because they offered something that others did not have (and continue to not have).

Yes, there are probably some people who won’t buy Vista, especially initially. Yes, there are a few people who will use it as a cataylst to switch to Linux/Mac. But I suspect it will not be in the overwhelming numbers that people think it might. Thinking about my friends and family, none of them will switch to Linux. And none of them will buy Macs, either. So that leaves either staying with Windows XP, another version of Windows (shudder), or upgrading to Vista.


It must be making them, not breaking them. They still can’t get IE down pat and have to continuously patch the OS, yet people are already half lined up to purchase Vista. I could care less until I actually acquire a computer that has Vista preinstalled.


I have already vowed to buy a Mac next time, and have written off Windows alltogether. My current PC’s will become Linux machines for good.

Pete Cashmore

I’ve been wondering the same thing. The release Longhorn (I guess we should be saying Vista by now) is going to be a decisive moment for MS – it could make or break them.

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