Sunday, October 17, 2010

From DOS 1.0 to Windows 7 - Nothing's Changed

There is very little doubt that Microsoft has played a big part in the computer revolution. While Apple software and hardware has always been proprietary, MS was willing to sell its operating system to any manufacturer making an IBM-compatible computers thus attaining a huge market share. The market share lead to users naturally adapting software products that interfaced very well with DOS and then Windows which lead to MS Office becoming the de facto standard office productivity tool.

The problem with MS is that they are not innovators. From their beginning, DOS 1.0 was not a Bill Gates creation. He bought the rights to an operating systems called QDOS (Quick and Dirty Operating System) from Seattle Computer Products and adapted it to IBM's specifications. MS Office products have been dominant but other office tools pre-date them. The word processing program WordPrect was available in 1980 (MS Word in 1983) and the spreadsheet Lotus 1-2-3 was released in 1983 while MS Excel first surfaced in 1987. Just the power and reach of Microsoft's operating systems has caused these other tools to virtually disappear. The early  Windows products were thought of by many to have a similar look and feel as the Apple operating system of the same time.

NEW YORK - OCTOBER 11: A person holds a new Wi...Image by Getty Images via @daylifeThis lack of innovation is now evident in MS attempt to enter the cell phone market. After Blackberry and Apple has taken over the market, here comes MS trying to do for cell phone what they did for microcomputers. It was not surprising that there first attempt failed. They are not the only player in the market and they do not know how to deal in an area where they do not have a virtual monopoly. After the failure of Vista and the success of Windows 7, they are trying to carry that success to the cell phone market. With Blackberry and the iPhone deeply entrenched, I believe that their second attempt to produce a cell phone will fail again.

They are in a market place where they do not know how to play the game - a market place that calls for innovation and that is crowded with non-MS products. The failure of the first cell phone caused MS CEO to lose his bonus - the failure of the Windows 7 cell phone will cause him to lose his job.
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