That Whiff of Decay…

Michael Malone has an article which has been going around the blog circuit, hypothesizing that there may be a whiff of decay about Microsoft, that the Redmond empire may have chinks in its armor.

Hey, it’s a popular idea, at least among the Open Source beatniks that I normally hang with. But we all know that their opinions are often formed by fanaticism rather than pragmatism. But just because they are fanatical is not a guarantee (or even evidence) that they are wrong.

Microsoft cheerleader Robert Scoble has something to say to counter this idea. But strangely enough, I sense more of the decay in the answer than I did in the original question.

It’s perhaps an unavoidable but nevertheless sad feature of decay that those close to it often deny that such decay is going on. In my experience, the more strident the assertion that all is well, the more uneasy I feel about the future direction.

Microsoft has given us plenty to be concerned about. Security and reliability of Microsoft products continue to be at the forefront of all sane consumers worries. Let’s face it, when you can only rely on your computer to be free from viruses for a few minutes after connecting it to the Internet, you are entirely justified to be concerned.

What does Scoble have to say?

Also, when I talk with “regular people” (you know, the people who don’t write code, but use computers) they kept telling me “solve your security/phishing/malware/spyware problems.” Or, “why do we need 3D graphics? Why can’t you make the performance/reliability/usability of Windows better?”

In fact, go back a few weeks where I asked my readers for what things they wanted Microsoft to do. Overwhelmingly you all said to focus on the basics and nail those. I don’t remember anyone asking for new 3D graphics.

A few weeks? People have been agonizing over problems caused by viruses and spyware for years. Granted, these problems have escalated dramatically in the last few years, but it’s not like anyone with any reasonable vision at all couldn’t have predicted this outcome. The idea of having untrusted code running in the context of a browswer or mail program was imbecilic to begin with. It constantly shocks me that class action lawsuits have not been filed against Microsoft for the absolute havok that this idea has perpetrated on consumers.

Longhorn is now years late because, as Scoble says, the Longhorn of PDC03 is no more, replaced by a new vision. I’m left wondering why they didn’t envision a secure, reliable operating system two years ago, and are only now beginning to come to grips with this basic idea.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I Love Carmen!In an article which was nominally about Robert Scoble, Hugh Macleod of gapingvoid had one of his brilliant cartoons on the back of a business card which captures my sentiment as a married guy at age 40 precisely.

To my darling wife Carmen, Happy Valentine’s Day!. We are coming up on our five year anniversary, and I couldn’t be a happier man. You’re the best sweetie!

Oh, and you want to know where I got the cool candy heart image? Try the ACME Heartmaker, courtesy of Jef Poskanzer.