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  • Microsoft Figured We'd All Be on Vista by Now [View article]

    Do you have your Google alerts set up for all instances of the word "Pinball?" This is an investment research site, not a "videogamer" site.

    The point is that Microsoft's bottom line is being affected by poor coordination of an operating software release with the hardware needed to run that OS (the lawsuit over Vista-enabled PCs) and poor QA/support planning (the SP3/Windows Automatic Upgrade debacle).

    In case there others who take my post literally, my grandson's issue with Pinball is simply a metaphor for these investment issues. Please do not email any suggestions on where to get free copies of Pinball. Or tell me there are better games than Pinball. Video games are designed for boys my grandsons' age aren't they?

    May 14, 2008. 06:12 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Google vs. Microsoft: Software as a Service Battle Heats Up [View article]
    Good summary Jason of both the Microsoft services and the issue.

    Live Meeting is not like Skype 2001, it's really is Placeware 1999. And I think you are leaving out Microsoft's live CRM services and all the services based around what it calls Office Live Small Business (competing with NetSuite, SAP BBD, etc.)

    As for the issue, I think there may be a generational thing going on here. Guys my age (62), who remember when their applications and data were locked away in a "cloud" (we called it the computer room), want both our apps and our data in our control. (I'm old-fashioned. When I'm forced to sit in an airport lounge, I read Ludlum.) Although not as old as I am, Mundie and Ozzie are of my generation.

    You young guys have more confidence in "the cloud" because you don't remember the panic PID messages telling you to close everything down quickly because "the mainframe" is crashing. Hours later when it came back up, there was a pleasant message from IT that said they were happy to inform us that all our work "as of 24 hours ago" was restored to the system.

    I haven't researched this generational difference but I sense it might be the defining point in the upcoming battle between MSFT and GOOG.

    -- Dennis Byron
    Apr 18, 2008. 07:18 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Google Is King, But for How Long? [View article]
    Good point about the foreverness of Google domination, Kevin, but to the extent it is based on your historical summary, I take issue.

    Microsoft, its CEO at the time admitted, missed the significance of the browser in the early 90s but it hardly "missed the Internet" since by the end of the decade it had the dominant browser and more importantly for investors, makes money on its web server software. And has grown (without looking it up) maybe five times since then.

    And IBM did not invent the PC but it certainly made the PC industry what it became. And IBM made a few dollars over the subseqent 25 years as well.

    Similarly, Google didn't invent search; it just perfected how to monetize search technology, unlike Alta Vista, etc.

    "Missing" technology changes has never been a problem for good companies. Not figuring out what business you're in is typically the thing that holds down share value. In Google's case, it says it's a technology company but some investors want to look at it as media company like Disney or McGraw Hill and others as a marketing company like eBay or Amazon. If you take Google management at its word, GOOG is more like SAP in 1990, about to see if it can move from being a one-industry-focused application to a broad multiple industry solution set. Whether that functionality getys delivered in a cloud or is built with open source software or uses the kids' college-homework page ranking algorithm is just noise level.
    Apr 16, 2008. 07:01 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Red Hat Opposing Document Standard to Prepare Ban on Windows? [View article]

    No--as noted elsewhere on SA multiple times--I don't think participation in the Open Standards movement is a good use of Microsoft shareholder value either.

    My point is that I think Red Hat's participation is not the "for the common good" activity you think or hope that is. Red Hat seems to want governments to pass laws or issue edicts that favor one brand of software over another.

    (I think you are adding patents to your objection for the first time, no? That's a separate discussion and it is ongoing here on SA on a different thread. But it has two forks: current patent portfolios and whether the U.S. will continue to grant them liberally in the future. The current SA discussion considers only the latter patent-issue fork)

    - Dennis
    Apr 11, 2008. 03:49 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why the Yahoo Deal Must Happen [View article]
    Thomas, you're a hard man to please if you consider 29% revenue growth "pretty flat." (You are probably talking about share price?)

    As for the Google-Apps thing being a work in progress, that's the point. Microsoft is doing that same work (that's what Ozzie was hired for) and is starting at a much higher level of functionality than Google.

    - Dennis
    Apr 11, 2008. 03:22 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Why the Yahoo Deal Must Happen [View article]
    I believe Microsoft needs Yahoo to get to its services-oriented future more quickly. There are other ways to get there but the $40 billion is money well spent, in that it will allow Microsoft to skip multiple R&D steps, and therefore save time.

    But the discussion about Vista's problems and the "browser is the operating system" misdiagnoses the issues Microsoft faces between now and when it gets to its "services-based" future.

    I do not have the advantage of having seen the Gartner presentation but I have seen it described three or four different ways on the blogsphere (which leads me to question how all the blogposters could have seen the same presentation).

    For starters, "just 6%" sounds pretty good after a year. I am guessing that that means 6% of the XP installed base has upgraded (what else could it mean, since virtually all new PCs shipped since Vista's launch include Vista?). The number will be 18% by the end of 2008, 27% by the end of 2009, and so forth (of remaining active XP desktops, a number that will decline for PC performance reasons not strictly Vista related).
    -- Did Gartner say how that rate compares to XP when it came on to the market?
    -- It compares pretty well relative to the rate Linux replaced Unix on existing desktops and the rate that Windows itself replaced DOS on existing desktops.

    Second, uptake on new desktop operating software is totally dependent on applications taking advantage of the OS. As native Vista apps kick in, Vista upgrades will follow (or, more likely, given performance issues, people will retire their XP-based PCs). This has been the pattern in the IT industry since the beginning. (And I mean the IT industry, not just the PC industry.)

    Third, the whole Google-Apps-will-repla... thing doesn't compute on multiple functional levels but just sticking to the operating system discussion, the whole browser as operating system analogy is a server issue, not a desktop OS issue. And if Microsoft has had booming growth so far this year, imagine what's going to happen when Longhorn kicks in next year.

    - Dennis
    Apr 11, 2008. 02:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft and Competitors Continue to Waste Resources on OOXML [View article]
    Just to be clear (see my previous posts on this subject), I believe Microsoft is wasting resources on this issue as well. The headline implies I was only criticizing IBM, Sun and so forth.

    -- Dennis Byron
    Apr 3, 2008. 07:47 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Back to the Future with IBM’s Cloud Computing [View article]
    David -

    Your point about generational differences is a good one. The inter-world-war generation guys that wrote the 1965 paper about a Big Brother tax package actually didn't object to it (although they pointed out privacy and other related issues elsewhere in the paper). It is my generation, the baby boomers, that rebelled against even the thought of that kind of government access and embraced the PC mentality of independence (as well as embracing Reagan, and so forth, for the same reason). Perhaps the pendulum will swing back and the next generation will not mind the big computer in the cloud knowing all about them or their company (because they already assume they are totally being watched anyways).

    Whichever, I think IT history says you will have "moderate paced (IT) adoption" in any case because that's just human nature no matter which generation.

    Thanks for the comment

    Dennis Byron
    Mar 31, 2008. 11:37 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Microsoft Continues to Waste Shareholder Value on Standards [View article]
    Mr. Probst-

    I am not sure if you are referring to or StarOffice in your statistics but according to a survey completed for me shortly before I prepared this post, they had had 116,000,000 copies downloaded from their site over the history of their project-that is over seven years, not in 2 years!

    The best ratio I've seen of downloads to production systems is 100:1 (based on MySQL and JBoss reports) so maybe there are 1,160,000 OpenOffice sites. Vs. as you say 70,000,000 instances of Microsoft (MSFT) Office a year.

    Both numbers seem high to me but the proportion is probably about right. I don't think Microsoft is too worried about

    But of course that is not what I posted about. My complaint is that Microsoft is wasting its shareholder's value spending one nickel on this Sun/IBM ploy.

    -- Dennis

    -- Dennis
    Mar 29, 2008. 03:53 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sun, IBM Continue Open Standards Double-Speak [View article]
    Dear Charles K:

    Thanks for the comment.

    No the answer is not in backing up the files but in having access to the application you created the document/file in. Typically, you have a perpetual right to use it. Backing up to .txt or .rtf (which maintains most 1990s-era formating) or an image (in the case of .ppt) is just a prudent way to protect assets. Obviously, you should do this with all software you have licensed. (By the way, there is no need to keep it on your hard drive as one commenter suggests.)

    But the bigger issue is that the term Open Standards (always upper case) is double speak, a term created to mean almost the opposite of what is intended. What is a closed standard? All so-called International Open Standards are simply retroactive acknowledgement of the market winner.

    Your analysis of Sun (JAVA) and IBM (IBM) as paragons of virtue when it comes to standards and business model are hopefully just indicators that you are young. I envy you for that.

    -- Dennis
    Mar 29, 2008. 03:38 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Is Red Hat Opposing Document Standard to Prepare Ban on Windows? [View article]
    In answer to Mr. Peter Green, thanks for your rational comment.

    Just so you understand how seekingalpha works, I am an independent analyst/consultant that blogs on my own web site and at other sites with which I am affiliated. Seekingalpha picks up my posts when it wants and when it feels the content is germane to its readers. Please do not stop reading Seekingalpha because you do not agree with my opinion.

    Since you say you agree with Mr. Penguin, the Linux devotee who commented before you, please understand that all my posts--the ones that SA picks up and those it chooses not to--are written from the perspective of the investor, primarily the institutional investor. My blog post says nothing pro or con about any particular standard but simply asks the question: Why is a publicly traded U.S. company with very specific legal governance obligations to the shareholder, wasting its time and the shareholders' money on an issue related to an IT market (document processing software) in which it does not even compete? A rational investor can only conclude that Red Hat wants to further an agenda that will in fact help it in a market in which it does compete at some point in the future.

    (Therefore, I have no idea if Thomas'/Red Hat's 10 points are correct nor do I care. I do know that at least one of them is misleading. It is correct to say that Microsoft has itself not implemented the standard in question. But that is because the ECMA has changed the standard in the last two years based on input from something like 87 national ISO standards bodies. Microsoft cannot implement the standard until ECMA finishes the standards process. Red Hat's press statement, which I reference at the beginning of my blog post, includes similar red herrings.)

    At this point, the investors in Red Hat (RHAT) are ill served by trying to get governments around the world to "legislate" (or even worse-"edictize") the brands of IT products their citizens will pay for and use. Despite Mr. Whitehurst's postion as reported in Infoworld on 3/27 that "George Bush is good for open source," it is an unbelievably short-sighted position. One American company that is very well respected in the open source community has already thought through the consequences of this position on its blog (see

    How soon before governments will legislate against companies based on the geographic location of their headquarters? Or the religion of their owners. Or the color of their owners' skin? Red Hat is on a slippery slope and its investors need to understand that.

    -- Dennis Byron
    Mar 29, 2008. 03:23 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sun, IBM Hide Behind "Document Freedom Day" to Attack Microsoft [View article]
    User 162757--
    Sorry, no you are incorrect. "Double-think.. was (not) used to erase and rewrite history." You are thinking of revisionism, of which there is also plenty when it comes to the blogoblatherers' embrace of Sun and IBM.

    As I say, "double think" is the manipulation of language as in the meaningless term "Open Standard"--always propagandistically capitalized. Shouldn't all standards be open?

    -- Dennis
    Mar 14, 2008. 12:04 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Sun, IBM Continue Open Standards Double-Speak [View article]
    To the SeekingAlpha community:

    The second and third comments above are typical ad-hominem blogoblather and given the anonymous user names, clearly not part of the SeekingAlpha community. But it is worthwhile to address the comments by the first and fourth anonymous commenters above from an IT investment research perspective--even though they are also probably not from investors.

    Let me take the fourth comment first because it requires a very simple response. Yes, I can open up my 20-year-old Word and Excel files because I still have the applications on my PC. I can even open up my 20-year old AlphaWorks documents and spreadsheets for the same reason. I have also saved them in .txt and .rtf so common good backup practice provides plenty of protection. The blogblatherers that surf the web looking for blogposts to attack with any mention of Microsoft, even if as in this case I am criticzing Microsoft, do not understand that users have overtaken them. Maybe that accounts for their frustration.

    Psychoanalyzing blogblathering aside, the whole Sun/IBM/front-group argument about legal requirements and Microsoft Office going away is the biggest canard in the current Sun/IBM/front-group campaign against OOXML. Ain't going to happen and even if it did, the applications don't go away.

    The first comment above is a little more complex. You can exchange information without "buying Microsoft" in the same backup manner as described in my response to the fourth comment. Microsoft also gives away a PowerPoint reader the way Adobe gives away its .pdf reader. I don't know about a "Word reader" (never needed one) but if they don't, the solution to interoperability without "buying from Microsoft" is simply to save to .pdf (or .html or...)

    And yes, IBM/Sun and Microsoft are equivalent when it comes to standards efforts. Unlike blogoblatherers, I don't care about moral equvalence but from an IT investment research perspective, all three of them are wasting shareholder money.

    -- Dennis
    Mar 14, 2008. 11:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • The Short Case on VMWare [View article]
    ...but at least the 3Com shareholders got something. Can't say the same for EMC's
    Oct 22, 2007. 07:48 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • EMC: A Great Way To Profit From VMWare [View article]
    You would think EMC's market cap would have started reacting as soon as it announced the VMware IPO "spinout" in February, never mind after the actual VMW launch. That's what the theory says. But there are other theories that say something like markets look ahead and markets reflect the cumulative wisdom of the buyers and sellers.

    EMC is lanuguishing because those in the know know "virtualization" is a buzzword du jour, today's "" At an Infoworld conference in NYC yesterday, Stephen Hilton, an IT guy at Credit Suisse (which is doing a big server virtualization project) was asked if virtualization would take over the world in five years. He said the word virtulization "would drop out of the vocabulary in three years." I understood his point to be that this was nothing new and just the way IT infrastructure needs to be built. IBM has had it for 40-50 years on mainframes; it was only a matter of time for it to be used on PCs. It will be built into every type of software.

    And the buzz about desktop and application virtualization is equally absurd. We EMC shareholders were screwed because we did not get a piece of VMW right away that we could unload during this "virtualization bubble."
    Sep 25, 2007. 08:35 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment