Stuck on C: Drive

Ephraim Shwartz is back to hitting the issues right on Denmark again – in this case the emergence of Web 2, SaaS-Software as a Service, SOA Architectures, ESB and therefore demise of the Smart Client and and a Window server and Windows PC centric if not controling IT universe. Ephraim goes straight to the point as he states that :


Bill Gates’ Nov. 1 announcement that Microsoft (Profile, Products, Articles) would soon be in the SaaS (software-as-a-service) business should be taken as a warning sign to the faithful: Something is rotten in Redmond…..Of course, in supporting a technology for which he has no worthwhile capabilities yet, Gates is on familiar ground for Microsoft. And by his own admission he couldn’t introduce “Live Software” as a new technology. True, the giant from Redmond has been in both positions before — Word versus WordPerfect, Excel versus Lotus 1-2-3 — but this time it is different. High tech historians will look back and see that it all started with the Internet versus the C: drive. The truth is, in making that transition to the Internet, Microsoft has not been a clear winner. It’s kept up, but it certainly hasn’t dominated the Web.

Truly Ephraim is being polite if not too kind. Microsoft has not bothered to keep up with the Internet but has worked overtime to machinate around it and form the Web into a conduit to the Windows Axis of Power. Look at what Redmond has done with IE, Java, JavaScript, IIS/Application Servers – all have been made proprietary or kept in a stunted, undeveloped state with low cross platform and other features for interoperability.

As Ephraim states so succinctly – they have all succumbed to the C: drive model. Implied [but I am stating it] is that the Windows Axis of power is the PCWindows client tied back to a Windows Server as the center of the computing universe. All things shall be derived from this axis of monopoly power and 20-40% server side market share always being driven to make it a crushing 80%++ market share like its client side sibling. .NET, Project Green , the new “extstinguish the competition with zero pricing” BI drive, and obviously Windows Vista + Smart Clients are driven by the singular tenet that we can coerce our customers to conform to our architecture, business model , and pricing demands while rendering service in terms of security, availability, reliability and scalability on our schedule despite the huge monopoly profits that could more than triple fund such efforts.

So the Webs programming language and therefore the IT worlds cross platform programming tool had to be sabotaged-shutdown-shotdown with polluting J++, J#, and C# plus a JVM distributed at its obsolete 1.1 version. Likewise all standards based Web tooling such as JavaScript, E4X, DOM, CSS, and client XML (think SVG, SMIL, XForms, XS:FO etc)were held in abeyance as Microsoft did not start to update the standards or features of IE at all from early 2000 until January of this year. Only the emergence of Firefox, Opera, and other browsers taking market share to 10-20% from IE has induced a response from Microsoft. But that response is to deliver in IE7a set of “just good enough” GUI and security features with just a few CSS and other Web standards fixes/upgrades. Just try to pin down any of the people at the IE Blog for why not for JavaScript 2.0, E4X, DOM rationalization, Visual Studio standards adherence, SVG, complete CSS and XHTML standards adherence and you will be treated to either nothing or ObfuscateSpeak.

Finally, in the world of Web Services, Microsoft has adopted in effect a declarative-programming-only approach to integration and interoperability. With SOAP, WSDL, UDDI and other Web Services frameworks Microsoft has had to play ball because it has no other cross platorm point of exchange having previously rejected CORBA, XML-RPC, OpenDOC, DME, DCE, Taligent and other interoperability frameworks. But the problem is that development and business models built around SOA/ESB has leaped ahead of its own and IBM Web Service standards. And coinciding with Open Source showing the business world that delivery of IT business model did not have to be based on software as highly restricted in warraties and support EULA license model (again, Ephraim was too kind to Redmond here) – SaaS has emerged through Google, Salesforce.com, eBay.com and many, many others. And so Ephraim lets Marc Benioff of Salesforce.com apply the coup de grace:

“Microsoft has a new version called Live. Its the new on demand offering that will not be compatible with the current product line. So, perhaps they should rename their entire Microsoft product line, Microsoft Dead. Its the analog to Microsoft Live, the new on demand offering that does not even exist.”

Marc has a directness that makes even this reviewer blush – but the essential problem is this – Microsoft has a formidable technology problem getting into a competitive SaaS position but that is less than half of it – the implications to their pricing and business models are even larger again. Very bigtime upheaval. They need to reorg ….

So congratulations to Ephraim for hitting the IT analysis right on Denmark, b)for acknowledging that Suns McNealy got it right – the network is the computer and c) for doing a superb Microsoft-Watch article while Mary Jo is down with the Web Too flu.

(c)JBSurveyer 2005