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by: Bernard Teo

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Copyright © 2003-2012
Bernard Teo
Some Rights Reserved.

Sat 18 Oct 2003

Random Musings on a Lazy Saturday Afternoon

Category : Commentary/musings.txt

I'm told I'm the ONLY Mac source on the subject of enabling Postfix on Panther. I've also just read James Duncan Davidson's thoughts about how people breaking Panther NDA is irking him.

While I have another take on this, I think it's better to keep quiet from now on. After all, it's only another seven days. Not that I have anything more to add. I've got a lot of things back to what I used to get with sendmail, but I still can't get the POP server part to work. I'd love to find out how to solve this. Maybe I can find it in his forthcoming Panther book when it comes out.

I'm reading Jim Carlton's book on the death of Apple. You could apply the same deprecating tone he used on Apple to the case of Microsoft. With all their dominance (you're absolutely required to use Windows in most corporations), one would have thought they could have used the opportunity to really improve their users' computing experience, in a way that gives Apple no room to find their way back. But no. You still don't get the same devotion to Microsoft among the average PC user that Apple routinely enjoys among the Mac faithful. In most business books, this is customer loyalty to die for. It should be the envy of any industry, no?

So who roots for Microsoft? Not mentioned in Jim Carlton's account is the role of corporate IT managers and CIOs, who saw Windows as something that could give the end-users what they think they're getting (the Mac computing experience), while holding on to the true reins of power because the PC was still, in reality, as technically-challenging as it had ever been - thus requiring continued (and massive) IT support. And they knew it. Part of Microsoft's genius is knowing how to sell to this audience.

I remember how the argument for Windows (in the 3.0 incarnation) against the Mac was that you can run Windows without replacing the current hardware platform. Who could argue against this? It's like motherhood and apple pie. But it was a lot more subtle than this. Six months after Windows was declared the winner (and the movement to base everything else on it - database software, applications, peripherals, the whole ecosystem - had gained irreversible momentum), the same guys would go to management and say how the users could be more productive if they had faster hardware to run all these stuff. They had known this all along. The thing is, this is the way the game was played. Have you ever seen truck-loads, piled high with PCs, coming to your work place? Mathematically, it was like how A(B+C) = AB + AC. You get the same result, but one thing looked huger than the other.

I was recounting this to someone the other day and he was, coming from the corporate world, maybe not surprisingly, admiring of this approach. He felt that it was a masterstroke in strategy.

Putting aside the possible waste of money, what about the deceit? It left the incumbents in power. You've got to understand this angle about technology. It's loaded with political ramifications. Perhaps Apple don't and never will.

Microsoft understands the power of momentum. You only have to read Jim Carlton's book to see it. Now, when Panther launches, how many third-party systems and software will launch with it? Do you see a connection?

Posted at 8:55AM UTC | permalink

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