Originally Posted by Korszo
Say what you will, but Bill Gates may be the greatest visionary that has ever lived. If it wasn't for his vision of "A PC on every desktop" and "information at your fingertips", things just may not be the way they are today.
Originally Posted by PPGMD
Actually Microsoft dominance come from the fact that having two separate incompatible systems just doesn't work, Microsoft made some underhanded deals they didn't establish market dominance through those practices alone, it took constant improvements, and smart decisions in their OS design, along with Apple blunders to get into the position.
Though I don't think Bill Gates is up to date with modern OOP practices, he was a fairly talented programmer in his time. Though I think they got off lightly because there was no evidence recent abuses of it's monopoly according to US law. I am sure the campaign contributions helped, but the judge (who is appointed for life) would have had to reach the conclusions on his own also. Remember being a monopoly is legal, abusing it is not.
As far as DRM ..., though they are a boon to Apple and Microsoft they aren't an attempt at lock in because their are things being required by the content providers not Microsoft and Apple. Also DRM does not stop you from using your computer for anything except accessing protected content like HD/BR DVDs, and downloaded songs.
Finally on the consumer front, Apple and Google are bigger threats then FLOSS to Microsoft.
It's a safe bet that both of you are relatively young; your comments show a lack of knowledge about the history of the computer industry. I don't have time to go into any in-depth history here, but I'll present a few facts which you can research. Just prior to the introduction of the IBM PC (1980; the PC was introduced in 1981), there were many different types of what were then called microcomputers--many brands, many different brands and types of microprocessors, and a number of different operating systems. Z80 CPU S-100 bus systems running CP/M were the dominant systems. A big leap was about to happen from 8-bit CPU's and 8-bit buses to 32-bit CPU's, initially with 16-bit buses but quickly poised to shift to full 32-bit buses. There were a number of new microprocessors coming out, such as the Motorola M68000 series, the National Semiconductor NS16000 series, the Zilog Z8000 series, the Intel 8086 series, and others. The Motorola M68000 series was the clear front-runner, with a true 32-bit instruction set, general-purpose registers, and a clear path to 32-bit buses. The Intel 8086 series was generally considered to be non-competitive, with only 16-bit registers and buses. Eighty to one-hundred companies were building M68000 systems running Unix. A very small group of IBM engineers in Boca Raton, Florida, designed what would become the IBM PC. IBM wasn't really interested in it, they thought that the microcomputer market was small and not serious (IBM was known for mainframes, the dominant computer platform at that time). In the computer industry, the IBM PC was considered a laughingstock. Not only did it have the worst of the new processors, the Intel 8086 series, it didn't even have an 8086. IBM used the 8088, which had the 16-bit 8086 instruction set, with an 8-bit bus. There are a lot of different stories about what happened between IBM and Digital Research when IBM tried to license CP/M. IBM went to both Digital Research and Microsoft to talk about getting an OS for its PC. Bill Gates had only written a crappy BASIC interpreter, and didn't have an OS, so he turned IBM down. A deal between IBM and Digital Research didn't materialize (again, a lot of different stories) quickly, so IBM went back to Microsoft and Bill Gates agreed to provide an OS, which he didn't have, and being a college dropout, wasn't knowledgeable enough or talented enough to produce quickly. He had heard about a CP/M clone for the 8086 series, and bought it from the programmer for $50,000. That became MS-DOS, the licensing of which to IBM (which called it PC-DOS) and later, PC clone makers, is what built Microsoft--something that Bill Gates never wrote. I will give Bill Gates credit for having the vision to see that software could have value. At that time, hardware companies only viewed software as a component that was required for their hardware to function, and the hardware was the real money-maker. IBM foolishly agreed to let Bill Gates license MS-DOS on other hardware, because there weren't any PC clones at that time, and IBM didn't think that the PC was ever going to have more than a few sales. IBM did strike a deal with Digital Research, so you could actually buy a PC with either PC-DOS or CP/M-86, but IBM priced CP/M-86 several times higher than PC-DOS, so of course it never went anywhere.
Again, I don't have time for a complete history. Much to the surprise of everyone in the computer industry, including IBM, the IBM PC was a major success. What happened was that most businesses had stayed away from microcomputers. At that time, IBM and computers were synonymous. When the IBM PC came out, businesses thought that because it was from IBM, it must be a real computer, and that they would get what at that time was famous IBM support. From a computer engineering perspective, the PC was crap, but businesses didn't know that. On the plus side, PC's were physically quite sturdy, which was unusual at that time (Apples were terrible). What businesses didn't know was that IBM didn't support PC's like they did all of their other products. Anyway, the PC took off, so it became a cash cow for Microsoft, especially after PC clones later appeared and the market exploded.
The real turning point in the industry was what happened with OS/2 and Windows 95. IBM's OS/2 was by far the better OS, but IBM foolishly had Microsoft do much of the development of OS/2. Microsoft had Windows 3.1, which had some market penetration but not a lot. Initially, OS/2 was going to be a joint venture between IBM and Microsoft, but then Bill Gates realized that he could make a great deal more money by producing a better version of Windows. So Bill Gates screwed IBM on OS/2; there were some dirty tricks with Microsoft investment in the publishing industry, etc. Because of MS-DOS, computer users now associated software with Microsoft, not IBM, even though IBM was completely stomping Microsoft in the overall software market (even Bill Gates admits to getting fortuitous incorrect press at the time, claiming that Microsoft was the largest software maker). Bill Gates stopped licensing Windows code within OS/2. OS/2 didn't sell well, and even though Windows 95 was a year later than a decent version of OS/2, and even though it was an inferior product, it took off and Microsoft's stock soared, and the rest is history.
Apple was never really a significant threat to the IBM PC. They made way too many mistakes, were too proprietary, overpriced, and underpowered. You can read a very incomplete and probably inaccurate in places history of the PC here
. One thing about Apple "stealing" GUI technology from Xerox--they were financed by the same venture capital firm, which wanted the Xerox people to show their technology to Apple, even though Xerox didn't want to, and Xerox management only understood copiers, and didn't undertand and wasn't really interested in the computer market. Microsoft did some work for Apple, and got early access to what Apple was working on.
I don't have time to go into all the dirty and illegal deals that Microsoft did. The biggest was forcing PC manufacturers to pay licensing fees on a per-box basis, not on an installed-copy basis, which was a clearly illegal anti-competitive measure and directly eliminated many potential competitors. Destroying competitors by hiring away their top talent may be legal; using virtually unlimited resources to make offers that are astoundingly extreme and completely unmatchable is another matter. Competing is legal; using anti-competitive measures to create or maintain a monopoly is illegal. When the government is prosecuting you, there is a law that essentially says if you pay off government officials to get out of it, you have to disclose who you paid off. A judge ruled that this law didn't apply to Microsoft when Microsoft bought its way out of litigation. Now, that's money talking. And if you think I'm making any of this up, do some research.
As for Bill Gates knowing anything at all about software engineering, don't make me laugh. He's a college dropout who clearly never learned anything about software engineering. I could go on endlessly in this regard. Shipping an operating system with different versions of DLL's that didn't even carry version information, having applications update the operating system, allowing applications to not only do that but replace newer DLL's with older DLL's, the Windows Registry (nobody, but nobody with the slightest education in computer science would ever create such a thing), using C and C-based languages such as C++ to do any sort of serious software development (real languages don't permit all of the endless problems that C-based languages have--stack corruption, corrupt pointers, pointer arithmetic, buffer overflows, unchecked indices/bounds, lack of true multiple inheritance, and on and on....) Although I could rightly accuse Bill Gates and Microsoft of setting the computer industry back by a quarter-century, it's more the fault of businesses and consumers who bought this garbage (by the way, I bought competitive products for as long as I could).
The DMCA and DRM exist because large corporations bribed legislators. The copyright laws were perfectly adequate, functional, and reasonably well balanced. DRM shifts all rights to content producers, and denies every right to content users, except those that the content producer chooses to grant. Everything about DRM is about making rich corporations richer, preventing innovation, preventing fair use, increasing profits, and increasing costs to the consumer. Of course vendors use DRM for vendor lock in. Every corporation is doing that--Apple, Microsoft, Google.... Soon, all cable channels will be encrypted, except possibly those that are available over-the-air, although the law doesn't preclude encrypting those. You can't do anything at all with encrypted recordings, except play them back within the limitations of the operating system, and with all the restrictions that the content provider and the cable operator choose to implement, which is basically every possible restriction. When you replace your computer or reinstall your OS, you lose all of those recordings. You can't play them back on another computer. Presently, you can't burn them to any media.
Google may be a long-term threat to Microsoft; Apple is largely irrelevant to Microsoft, only offering some competition in the media space.
I seriously don't have time for this. Do some research.