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Monday, June 26, 2006
  Off Topic: Did Microsoft FUD and VapourWare throw the competition off track?

I read a comment on reddit suggesting that the alternatives to Windows "have all been racing to put in features to compete with what Vista was supposed to be." Is that really true?

I thought about it for a while, and while I have no idea whether the Linux crowd have been zealously trying to implement relational database backed file systems, I can say with confidence that if Apple has been working on this, it's been a better-than-usual secret.

The view from Ruby Slippers in Kentucky's Red River Gorge

Let's talk about the premise of the quote above: the idea that the alternatives to Windows have been racing to implement features that Microsoft has no intention of shipping. To quote a guy with an excellent perspective into FUD and VapourWare:
Think of the history of data access strategies to come out of Microsoft. ODBC, RDO, DAO, ADO, OLEDB, now ADO.NET - All New! Are these technological imperatives? The result of an incompetent design group that needs to reinvent data access every goddamn year? (That's probably it, actually.) But the end result is just cover fire. The competition has no choice but to spend all their time porting and keeping up, time that they can't spend writing new features.
Joel Spolsky, Fire and Motion
I don't think Apple fell for the big Vista head fake: where's the next generation FS? Where's the next-generation model for writing GUI applications? Apple ignored that stuff and concentrated on iPods and iterating releases.

If Apple had bought the fake, they would have gone into the woodshed and spent years on a ground-up rethink of their OS. It didn't happen.

If anything, maybe Microsoft fell victim to Fire and Motion. They seem to have spent all of their cycles on matching Apple's security and eye candy. As if Windows users really care about gadgets.

Bill Ray could have bought secuity by buying VMWare, and bought eye candy by buying Konfabulator. The Vista team could have gone ahead and implemented WinFS and Avalon, and everyone else would have been slammed. Apple would have been caught flat footed!

It's not like Apple can't be beaten with innovation. Ask any Java developer about the frustrations of developing on a Macintosh over the years: they have lagged in an area that is provably hot. Come to think of it, 90% of the attendees at RailsConf 2006 used Apples, and OS X ships with a broken implementation of Ruby! Apple can and does miss out on 'hot' trends because they are too busy following their own strategy to be sidetracked by hype.

But Microsoft... I'm thinking that they got caught responding to the competition instead of making the competition respond to them.

That's too bad, because I agree with Gruber: the world would be a better place if Vista rocked.

Comments on “Off Topic: Did Microsoft FUD and VapourWare throw the competition off track?:
good article man

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Reg Braithwaite

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