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More Bad News for Windows 8


Wall Street Journal reviewer Walter Mossberg has finally come over from the Dark Side, acknowledging what PC world’s early adopters have known for months – i.e., that Microsoft’s latest operating system looks like a loser. While it’s hardly unusual for Rick’s Picks to put the knock on Microsoft, a company that couldn’t innovate its way out a Glad bag, it’s almost unheard of for Mossberg to do so. In the  past, he’s played softball with the Redmond behemoth’s products because, if you want to keep your job as a computer-product reviewer for a major newspaper, you don’t pick fights with the largest software company in the world.

And yet, in a Personal Technology column published last week, writing with a boldness we’ve never before seen in the man, Mossberg said in effect that unless your computer is practically brand new, you’d have to be crazy to “upgrade” to Windows 8:  “To be sure,” Mossberg wrote, starting in low gear, “people upgrading newer PCs, whose makers anticipated Windows 8 or have software patches ready to accommodate it, will likely have a much better experience. I learned—too late—that neither of the computers I was upgrading was on the list of models for which their manufacturers provided such patches. This may be because, in both cases, aspects of their hardware weren’t up to snuff for Windows 8’s more demanding requirements.”  Oh, come on, Walter!  Up to snuff??  Don’t blame it on your equipment. Just come out and say it!

Death’s Head Warning

And boy, did he ever! Mossberg’s next sentence should be affixed to every Windows 8 installation disk, like an FDA death’s head to a pack of cigarettes: “The touch pad on my Lenovo ThinkPad X301 laptop can’t be used to scroll in the new tabletlike Start Screen environment in Windows 8, or to perform certain Windows 8 gestures. And, on the HP TouchSmart 300, the touch screen isn’t precise or sensitive enough to reliably perform Windows 8’s touch gestures every time. Plus, the microphone doesn’t work. Oh, and to get the HP to stop freezing, I had to perform a procedure that wiped out most of my installed software, including HP and Microsoft MSFT +1.40% programs.”

Makes you want to run out and buy a copy, doesn’t it?  Usually, Microsoft’s operating-system updates either correct egregious problems in previous versions, or gratuitously change things so that older versions eventually become obsolete.  Business users long ago tired of this game, but with the release of Windows 8, which is designed to enable touch-screen functions, corporate customers have a better reason than ever to say, “No more!” And so they have, and for PC makers this couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Because of the growing popularity of tablets, computer sales were plummeting before Windows 8 was released in October.  Now, however, consumers have an even bigger reason to put off PC purchases for as long as possible, since the new operating system features an interface that will be unfamiliar to everyone.  That’s one reason we wrote in November that Windows 8 would prove to be the biggest disaster in the company’s history.   Click here to read this trading “tout” in its entirety, including bearish price targets and a back-up-the-truck low where you could actually buy the stock without much fear.

To paraphrase Adam Smith, there’s a lot of ruin in a company with a $60 billion cash surplus and an operating system installed on 400 million desktops. However, it’s hardly inconceivable that a “Black Swan” could come along that changes the O/S paradigm sufficiently to render Windows, and perhaps even the Office suite, obsolete overnight. In any case, Microsoft’s ability to exploit its near-lock hold on PC operating systems can only diminish over time as the company continues to follow, rather than lead, in virtually every area of innovation.

  • Neil Thomson February 8, 2013, 12:39 am

    I recently bought a new PC, which shipped with Windows 8. My assessment – a total failure. Not only do key files not open, but windows restarts my pc mysteriously in the middle of key operations, then tells me my computer has a memory error. Several diagnostics have shown nothing wrong with the pc. In addition, there’s no start menu, the ‘search’ feature which is supposed to allow you to scan for files does not work, and external hard drives take up to 20 minutes or more to be scanned and recognized. A friend of mine is developing a proprietary operating system, so will likely abandon MS and use that on my pc going forward.

  • nonplused January 22, 2013, 6:30 pm

    The thing I don’t get about Windows is how over time all your software stops working. Even stuff that is installed and used to work on the machine. For example, I have this old XP machine that we had all manner of kids games and stuff like “Pod Racer” on, a serious investment in software and installation time. Everything worked for years and then one day an update came through and voilà! Nothing worked except office. I have a six year old so the kids games and star wars stuff would be getting good use even on that old machine, except for, how did Rick say it, “gratuitous obsolescence”? The machine is sitting in a box now.

  • mava January 18, 2013, 4:59 pm

    RA, you’re absolutely correct, registry errors are not insignificant! They signify the absolute indifference of a vendor to its customers. What is going on here is that there is a vendor who’s profiting from fraudulent IP law, having written an application once (and badly at that), and keep selling it over and over again, never ever bothered even once to repair it to bring it even to a level of operation that was originally promised.

    Notice how most software companies had noticed this and picked this model of business up for themselves. No longer you pay for anything that works. Nope. You get a project starting code, and empty shell that manages to open and close a window, that’s all. Everything else is promised to be delivered later.

    Someone above had already explained why this is happening: because the absolute majority of us refuses to have any responsibility for anything (a consequence of irredeemable money system, picked up by human beings as an environmental condition unconsciously). No one ever demands the other party to complete what was promised and to deliver. We didn’t sue Microsoft to bankruptcy court for never making older OSes like W95 to work as promised. That is why they are not ever to going to deliver, for now they know we will pay for just the promises and start ups.

    Registry errors show the absolute ignorance and incompetence of the programmer like nothing else. They are nothing hard at all to avoid. In fact there is ZERO reason to even use the registry, as it was a horrible design choice anyway, and is absolutely not needed.

  • Marc Authier January 16, 2013, 5:38 pm

    If USA was really a free market, really capitalist country, Microsoft would have been a small company with normal profits and an ordinary story. Microsoft story is one of an unnatural monopoly that was built with predatory pricing and strong-arm tactics. HOPE FINALLY THE MARKETS DESTROY MICROSOFT FOR GOOD and punish these filthy monopolists where their real business model was more based on corporate fascism and corruption than anything else. Down with this softwar monopoly ! It’s about time and long live freedom and free markets!


    Yeah, but tell us how you REALLY feel, Marc. RA

  • Chris T. January 16, 2013, 5:32 pm

    “Fact are facts. You can ignore or explain it away but the under-class is dying these last 10 years, while the money flows to the top 20 percent. Do you dispute these stats? I don’t make them up.”

    Look, the under-class / poor have always been poor, they are NOT **getting** worse-off, they’re simply not improving.

    And, as to the RELATIVE change in “disparity”, that is ONLY happening because the top end is moving UP, not because the bottom end is moving down.

    This makes people THINK they are doing worse (the underclass), just simply because someone else is doing better.

    The old Russian prayer: “My neighbor has a cow, and I don’t have a cow, so please God, kill my neighbor’s cow” sums up the attitude well.

    Now, as I did point out, the MIDDLE class is INDEED back-sliding, THEY in relation to the top end ARE moving down.

    A MIDDLE class family (maybe not at the very bottom end of that middle, but the majority of them) was able, as little as 30 years ago, to entertain the notion of sending 2 or 3 children to a university like Princeton, and be able to pay for that themselves, AND also to be able to STILL maintain something for themselves and their future. With sacrifices, manageable, not easy, tbs.

    That is back when full cost per year was maybe 12-15k (no assistnace from anyone the uni. or the state) for this class.

    All of what I mention could be done an an annual income of LESS than 100k, quite a bit less with proper planning.
    NO ONE, except dyed in the wool marxists, CALLED these people RICH, or thought of them as upper class.

    I am talking here of people such as engineers, chemists, etc in companies such as Bell Labs or Bethlehem Steel.
    Interesting how along with this class of society, the businesses that employed them have disappeared, to be replaced by the playground of the elite, “Wall Street”, etc.

    Compare to today:
    That same engineer/scientist/etc can with MUCH luck earn 100k-150k.

    HOW do you even think about putting on child through a school like Princeton, when that now costs 65k p.a., let alone 2 or 3?
    And if, as is normal, you are also carrying a mortgage at the same time (you’d still have rent regardless), it is IMPOSSIBLE to do that.

    That’s whats happened to the middle-class dream:
    its gone.

    That’s why even Gen Xers, let alone the later ones, are as a class NOT doing better than their parents.

    But you refuse to see this.

    But the poor have always been poor, its just that THEY now get other people to pay for their kids “eduction”, for the transportation to get to that “education”, for their kid’s food, their kid’s medical expenses, their housing costs, and on, and on.

    As little as 60 years ago that very same class didn’t have ANYONE paying for that (except the school itself), \but you’re telling me these people are worse-off?

    Laughable! And proven false by any statistics you can cite, even just using the governments’ faked numbers.

  • Tech January 15, 2013, 9:59 pm

    Mossberg, “unless your computer is practically brand new, you’d have to be crazy to “upgrade”

    Just upgraded a 2007 quad-core Windows Vista Media Center HP PC. Zero problems. I was very pleased.

    Rick, “updates either correct egregious problems in previous versions

    Alas, this is the reason I upgraded.

    The Windows Vista PC was full of stall and hangs, and it wasn’t malware (unless Vista was the malware). I had gone back to a 2001 (!!!) machine that I reimaged with XP Pro and upgraded the memory and hard drive. When the chance came to wipe and upgrade the Vista PC for $40, I jumped at it. This was the least painful Windows upgrade I have ever done. In fact, it was amazingly smooth. The free upgrade for Media Center installed in a snap.

  • MonsantoUSAbioterrorists January 15, 2013, 9:42 pm

    What is bad for Microsoft is good for America and the rest of the world. Finally ! Free markets working normally ? LINUX eating away at the monopoly ? Its fantastic news au contraire !

  • gary leibowitz January 15, 2013, 5:29 pm

    FYI, my recent bets:
    sold 900 of the SPXL at average price of 94.8 (bought at average price of 81). holding the 200 UGL bet at 91.9.

    Expect a slow draw down for next month or so. If that scenario holds I will be back in. The fight over more spending cuts should get ugly.

    BTW, a new article just came out showing the number of working poor families grew as the wealth gap widened. “one-third of working families now struggle, up from 31 percent in 2010 and 28 percent in 2007, when the recession began”. “Data showed that the top 20 percent of Americans received 48 percent of all income while those in the bottom 20 percent got less than 5 percent”.

    It is obvious that the top 20 percent is not just millionaires. It is just as obvious that cutting the social programs will speed up that trend. I am talking about working families, not the people on the dole. I wonder why the very same people (top 20 percent) that have benefited all these years complain the loudest about the deficit. They also don’t want to help fix the problem by giving back some of the huge disproportional gains they received. Squeeze the people that have been squeezed the most? The American Way!

    One last rant. Anyway you slice it the expected spending cuts will take the legs out of the 47 million already living near poverty. The theme always comes back to the survival of the fittest. Sad that we still rely on nature to weed out the weak. Man’s intelligence has not yet mastered the need for compassion and fairness over environmental natural law.

    • Rick Ackerman January 15, 2013, 11:23 pm

      Come off it, Gary. Not paying their fair share? Disproportional gains? With 6% payroll taxes figured in, Obama’s $250k-income ‘filthy rich’ in NY and CA are already paying rates exceeding 50% on every marginal dollar earned. And I see no mention in your leftist screed concerning the percentage of America’s taxes that are paid by that top 20 percent. (The figure is about 70%, for your information.) And of course half of the country’s workers pay no taxes at all.

    • Chris T. January 16, 2013, 1:19 am

      well, Rick gave the right tone to that one in his response.

      On top of it, and the valid figures he cites:

      Why is it that people like Gary fail to see the REAL problem, which is the that the RICH he so despises (but actually just a tiny cadre of those 20%):
      have engineered a system, now >100 years old, that FLEECES the middle class (forget “poor” or “working class”), redistributes that fleeced gain (primarily by the inflation mechanism laid-out by von Mises) to those same rich (the ruling oligarchy), and keeps the
      majority voting for this system, because that majority has NO skin in the game (as Rick points out for the 1/2 who pay NO income tax).

      A-holes like Buffet (the son, not his great father), and MS’main mover Gates, can scream all they want; “tax us, we should shoulder our share”. but however much is taken thereby directly, is returned many times over indirectly by their being the beneficiaries of that inflation.

      And the REAL reason that the “public” sector empoyees are still doing so well, now outpacing the private sector, real middle-class is: they’re the “perioeci”. who are the tools of the “spartiates” (the oligarchs mentioned above) to control us, the “helots” to them.

      Want proof that this Spartan vision is reality here:

      Look at how the US perioeci are treated:
      they do better than the masses financially
      they enjoy many rule-bending perks we don’t have
      but they will also virtually never become Spartan citizens.
      Yet they know that they better serve those citizens well, or they will become just another helot.

      Take NYC:
      there are about 220,000 parking-exemption passes issued.
      You see these all the time, very very late at night in residential neighborhoods, parked where it would otherwise be illegal, often towing zones.
      “Official business” my ass, at 3:30 AM.

      They’re paid better, and normal rules don’t apply to them.
      The top of the heap of this middle layer are cops of course, at the bottom less direct enforcers:
      town officials/administrators

      Think about what happens for example in drunk driving:
      cops, even off-duty very rarely get prosecuted the way a helot does, or even a teacher.
      For them, unless it’s so egregious as to make the “above the law” status-quo too obvious, it’s pay-docking, work-suspension etc.
      The bottom of this layer benefits primarily financially:
      they earn now, what is the inflation-adjusted (again SGS numbers) pay that was once considered middle class.

      But the so-called middle-class helots, no chance.

      So, Gary, keep believing your take-from-the-poor/give-to-the-rich Marxian mantra [as if the poor had much to take.
      For the rest of us its:
      steal from the productive producers, give to the ruling elite, and pay-off the poor with largesse to have a majority of voter support that system.

      Yeah, democracy!

    • Chris T. January 16, 2013, 1:24 am

      sorely missing the edit feature!

    • gary leibowitz January 16, 2013, 4:29 am

      Fact are facts. You can ignore or explain it away but the under-class is dying these last 10 years, while the money flows to the top 20 percent. Do you dispute these stats? I don’t make them up.

      It’s all a matter of perspective. I can assure you the problems you have with the tax code is an inconvenience compared to the devestation it brings to the under-class. As for the Obama payroll tax I do beliece he was the one that created the holiday to begin with. You just explained we can’t afford the give-aways, now you complain about the roll backs? As for 250K, guess you have to now use the 450K margin to declare yourself rich. The disingenuos notion that half the countries workers pay no tax at all might justify your complaints about the burden you seem to have, but I can assure you anyone in that position would trade with you and your petty complaints. Imagine sweeping these people aside as if they don’t struggle to make an honest pay and don’t struggle to stay afloat. Try seeing the real world, and not a hollywood depiction of lazy welfare recepients. Sadly the Republican controlled states in the south get the least help from local governments, where they are needed the most. I am talking about working families and how they are slipping into poverty while the top 20 percent are gaining on their backs.

      If I am wrong, and my sources are incorrect please enlighten me. Every single report I read shows the disparity widening, even as you rail about the wasteful spending. I do know how to make an honest evaluation and prediction for the future if we continue to cut spending geared towards helping those working poor families stay afloat.

      If I was to use your analysis the 50 percent that pay no taxes at all are lazy freeloading families that take advantage of the soft leftwing misdirected ideology, while the rest of us have to work our buts off to keep them in easy comfort. Is that really how you see things? Reminds me of the Carnegie era arguments.

      To distort simple facts that there is an ever widing gulf between the haves and have nots does no one any good. In fact the road we are taking is sure to break the backs of the under-class and thereby distroy the foundation for all those above. A greedy path that will guarantee its destruction. I risk my theory on it, and soon my money. We will fall hard (economically) exactly because the easiest path to follow at times like this is to cut the weak to maintain the engine that supposedly drives the markets. It will cut the feet right out from under it instead.

    • gary leibowitz January 16, 2013, 4:49 am

      Chris, I don’t agrue that we take from the poor to give to the rich. I argue that as economic comfort and complacency take hold, greed and corruption soon follow. This government decided they can hide their excess spoils by simply borrowing and printing money to placate the rest of us.

      This is a natural human response if left unchecked. Unfortunately it has been left unchecked, as Greenspan stated “I assumed the free market would police itself”. You act as if this is something out of the ordinary. This is a human trait that hasn’t changed since we stood on 2 legs. That is why I am so cynical about letting markets decide our fate. I would rather have stymied technological and economic growth if it is at the expense of human suffering. We rush to develop and change at lightning speed for what purpose? Surely not to benefit all of man.


      Greenspan one of your heroes, Gary? RA

    • gary leibowitz January 16, 2013, 5:20 am

      Greenspan? Scary how naive a man in his position can be. He opened the flood gates.

  • Chris t. January 15, 2013, 9:53 am


    when you look at MS’s revenue growth in real terms, using SGS’s alternate series, you are looking at <50% over the scant decade mentioned in the article you cite.
    (using an average of 6% p.a. influence for 9 years compounded, see the SGS website for the chart…)

    Not terrible but a far cry from the nominal you post above…

    • Chris t. January 15, 2013, 9:55 am

      “influence”, lol, was meant to be “inflation”, damn android auto-correct…

  • ter January 15, 2013, 7:05 am

    Rich vein of commentary.

  • redwilldanaher January 15, 2013, 4:36 am

    Rick, off topic, but as we have so many zombies that lurk about here, many of which have no sense of irony, I thought this might give you a chuckle when the source is considered:


    Think that’s the same goldman that just announced over 8 billion pounds in bonuses???


    Is it possible that Arthur Anderson, working under an alias, is keeping China’s books? RA

  • Dan January 14, 2013, 7:05 pm

    I have been working on PCs since they came out.
    Microsoft OS’s have never been that good. Some like ME and Vista were awful. However, I really liked XP after SP3 came out.

    They always recovered since they have such a huge market share. After working on a number of PCs using Windows 8, I also believe it will be a disaster.

    Unfortunately, It is not very intuitive.

    I am quite proficient and I found it irritating they I had to fumble around to find things. The Charm Bar popped out after I happened to click on the upper right corner of the screen. What typical user would have done that?

    • gary leibowitz January 15, 2013, 2:17 am

      Geared toward the younger generation. The how-to guide explains the basics well. Requires reading of 15 minutes to get “it”. Not a fan, but can understand the need for touch screen, multi-taskings, tablet use, cubed visial display of different apps, etc.

      It is really aimed for the mobile hardware. As pointed out, they are a big cash generating machine today. I don’t see them breaking ground, only trying to keep up. Is that enough with their clout? Don’t know.

  • Chris T. January 14, 2013, 6:47 pm

    “…or gratuitously change things so that older versions eventually become obsolete.”


    Dave’s comment above, going into the technical minutiae (as far as your average =regular user is concerned), really presumes an environment that is not so.
    Meaning, while most of us have been using PC’s, etc, for years now, the level of knowledge isn’t there, such as Dave presumes.

    And that makes sense:
    People want these things ONLY as tools, not as geek-play things.
    Just like cars:
    almost everybody uses them, but how many people can even answer the question: what does a spark-plug do, how does it work, let alone change one. (assuming spark plug is present).
    Why is that? because people just want to get from A to B in general, not play car-buff or mechanic.

    In my work environment, where the workers are not in their early 20s, but almost all have been using PCs their whole school and professional life, some of the most common Windows functions are still not mastered.

    Now, to Rick’s comments:
    Windows 7 Professional introduced, totally gratuitously, a new style interface, as compared to many many years of previous versions.

    Take the “up one folder arrow” next to “save-in” in the previous versions.

    Now you get a question from someone who just doesn’t really know that function (as above, while it may seem rote to us, this is by far more widespread), but you do in your head.
    You know the long-term implementation, but try to help these people on the phone (or even by hollering across the office) on 7 Professional, no such luck.

    Unless you now bother to internalize 7 so well (as did many years of previous version use), no way to coach someone through this, at the very minimum, must sit at their PC.

    But instead, we get transparent frames, wow!

    So, I’m still on XP, and barring doing some (non-permitted anyway) net stuff, with its overloaded java/flash, etc playthings, no hindrance at all.
    Resisting that upgrade until can’t be helped.


    At work, wop-de-do.
    We just freed up “acres” of desk-space in the last so many years, by all converting to flat-screens.
    And nice sizes too, as is common these days.

    Like I really want to put 2+ square-feet of screen FLAT on my desk, rather than hovering VERTICALLY at the edge of it.
    And placing a tablet-type that way is just ridiculous:
    the orthopedists will love that rotor-cuff work (as opposed to the carpal tunnel of today).

    And WHY should all of us millions, some who’ve even learned to use a keyboard efficiently (and the mouse only when tab/ ctrl / alt commands, etc can’t be used easily) now go to touch screen keypads?
    They SUCK in comparison, even the best ones.

    But it’s new, it’s cool, so do it.
    If you agree with that, go out and buy the new Lincoln with lane-control, Captain Dunsel.

    @ Brian
    “Google Chrome OS which is all in the cloud and therefore all OS updates happen in the cloud
    The future is here now.”

    lets make it even easier for the NSA to obtain ALL of our personal data than it already is, by not keeping ANY of it under our control anymore.

    And of course, the way this country’s infrastructure is going, that’s just SWELL during a Sandy type aftermath.

    Some cloud-access we had here in NJ for days on end.
    But, it’s SOOOO convenient, who cares about the downside.

    It’s just getting more true every day:
    more than anything our apathy and our acceptance of conveniences (or “security/safety”) no matter the cost to other principles, will be (is already?) our downfall.

    What, me think, me be responsible for my self?
    Couldn’t have that!

    And, not to mention the problem of all wireless systems:
    an astute observer wrote last year (forget who) that wireless data transmission (the technology(ies) used for it) will, in health terms, be to the 21st century what tobacco was to teh 20th.

    My only quibble with that would be:
    tobacco was NEVER as widely adopted as anything wireless is today, and the level of addiction to the latter is EVEN greater.
    Meaning: the denial that there is a problem will be even deeper and much more prolongued than with tobacco, and “secondary smoke inhalation” pales by comparison.
    No “non-smoker sections” in this sphere.

    Why all that latter in this MS posting?
    because of the “tablet” paradigm shift, that seems to brook no opposition.

    Finally, I thought the following was really funny:

    sitting on a wi-fi bus recently (see what I mean), lady next to me (20 something) was listening to her iPhone via headphones, and playing some stupid (of course I think they all are) car-type game on her iPad.

    TWO wireless devices? LOL!
    I admit to not knowing whether or not the iPad has multitasking ability:
    if it does, it just goes to illustrate my comment about device literacy above,
    if it does not: in 2013, Apple – WTF?

    • Dave January 14, 2013, 8:52 pm

      Rick mentions registry errors… talk about minutiae and trees…. I use ThinkorSwim, I don’t get registry errors and they constantly update the s/w. Tradestation is built on old code and likely old style programming methods with lots of legacy issues, which is why they have problems in newer Windows environments.

      Microsoft makes more money with their business products, like Office, Exchange, Sharepoint, etc. Apple doesn’t have the corporate presence or breadth of products to compete on that level. Win8 is a consumer focused product. MSFT stock languished for many years, maybe now it will become a trading stock.

      If PCs are going the way of 8-track, CDs, etc. then MSFT is planting lots of trees because they will own the forest, irrespective of how we may dislike them.

      “In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, Microsoft’s revenue amounted to 69.94 billion U.S. dollars, up from 28.37 billion U.S. dollars in 2002. A segment breakdown of Microsoft’s 2011 revenue reveals that Microsoft’s Business Division (including Microsoft Office, Exchange and other business solutions) generated 21.99 billion U.S. dollars in revenue, while the Windows Division generated 18.78 billion dollars. Microsoft’s Entertainment and Devices Division generated 8.72 billion dollars, mainly attributable to products and services related to the Xbox 360. Overall, the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2011, was Microsoft’s most successful fiscal year to date with a net income of 23.15 billion U.S. dollars.”


      Registry errors are not “minutiae” if they cause blue screen and application failures, as is all too often the case. Concerning the implications of MSFT “owning the forest” regardless of how many of us hate the company’s guts, we’ll have to agree to disagree over whether Ballmer & Co. can continue to ram new operating systems down our throats whether we want/need them or not.

      I actually like Outlook and MSFT Word, by the way, and I say that as a writer/publisher who uses both tools intensively. But Microsoft has crapped them up with so many features, “ribbons” and gratuitous layers of user interface that I cannot easily find, let alone use, 90% of the features when I need them. RA

  • gary leibowitz January 14, 2013, 6:47 pm

    Windows 8 is a big depature from previous operating systems. It does require a longer learning period for the older folks (over 30). It is the smart and logical choice if they want to remain competitive. MSFT as usual tries to catch-up to the leading edge technology. They are a company that shows no innovation and is just trying to survive. When we no longer need a built in operating system or a desk top computer they will have to evolve or die. With Google making all the smart choices so far I wonder how long the have. The trend away from the desk top is already here and will accelerate. Android based system will dominate.

    Not a fan of MSFT for trading purposes. The odds of them staying a big player is diminishing. Big money without big ideas relies on merging other companies to stay competitive. They will stumble eventually.

    • Chris T. January 14, 2013, 6:55 pm

      “Android based system will dominate.”

      oh great.
      wonders to look forward to, judging by my Android phone…

  • Robert January 14, 2013, 6:14 pm

    Free advice:

    1) NEVER buy a new version of an existing OS to “upgrade” an older machine. Install whatever is “latest and greatest” at the time the machine is purchased, and then keep it patched on that version for eternity. Once the OS is that far out of date, then so too will be the hardware. Better to relegate it to background duty (like storing the family photos and music) than to try and “shoe-horn” drastically updated operating system software onto it.

    2) If your computing life is basically confined to shopping, email, youtube, and skype, then just step up to a tablet and be done with it.

    Most of the reason the big players love the tablet world is BECAUSE tablet owners are a captive OS market. The tablet maker decides what OS and patch levels are necessary for your hardware, and they give you no CD-ROM to even allow you to try and upgrade your platform on your own… Do you think this is coincidental, or by accident?

    This is where Apple has it right – they knew that even though operating systems are just more software that is “installed” on the machine; they also knew that people would never be able to manage the nearly infinite number of factors that make a machine, and its Operating System, operate like a team, so they took that responsibility out of the customer’s hands.

    • Chris T. January 14, 2013, 6:53 pm

      “Most of the reason the big players love the tablet world …”
      and because they get to sell something different / new, not just an upgraded same-old, same-0ld.

      Basically the story of mass-dumbness:
      just like the vinyl to cassette to CD, and so on morphing.

  • mava January 14, 2013, 5:32 pm

    JJ, you need a Mac.

    Most of the people using PC, don’t really qualify to run it, they need a Mac.

    I think the biggest mistake MS made was monopolizing the markets, where it forced every single retailer to sell PCs always preloaded with windows and secondly, always the latest windows.

    Rick is correct, the MS is going down. I knew it when I saw W7 in all its “glory”. W7 is about 1/3 of the OS that WXP was, not even mentioning the W2K.

    The question, however, and the reason of why MS suddenly changed direction after W2K, in that it started to make progressively weaker, slower, less functional operating systems, is that most people no longer qualify to run an OS, therefore the proliferation of Macs and Chromes. So, the Microsoft started to dummify their OS as well, however, on that end it had met a very formidable competition.

    Linux, of course remains unchallenged, but if you had paid attention,many distros are being dumbed down as well, just look at the latest Ubuntu with Gnome – OMG, tell me this wasn’t intended for someone mentally challenged. This is because Linux struggles to become popular, which, in my opinion, it should not do.


    And neither is alleged “tech support” for whatever third-party application you can name capable any longer of diagnosing significant problems that inevitably crop up. Piling layer on layer of bad architecture on bad-from-the-get-go Windows has made registry conflicts between the O/S and every third-party application that I use, even those in the cloud, insoluable. In 2012, escalated tech support produced dead ends for me — “We give up!” — with Camtasia, Citrix GoToMyPC, Citrix Meeting Room, Vimeo, Roboform, Seagate and Tradestation.

    • Chris T. January 14, 2013, 6:48 pm

      Hey hey!
      ready yours after my post below, speaking my mind,

    • Tech January 15, 2013, 9:50 pm

      I have worked in huge IT shops where oracle was paid millions. NOT ONCE did they fix a problem I had submitted. I did all of the documentation and delivered data and test cases. Escalate inside oracle??? didn’t help. The only thing that would help was to change code to work around oracle’s bugs.

      Tech support is a challenge everywhere when there is considerable functionality.


      Interesting you should mention it, since a good friend of mine here in Boulder has the job of making sure Oracle’s corporate clients get help without delay. He has survived a dozen corporate downsizings over the years, so I assume he has done his job very well. As such, I’m skeptical of your story. I am no ORCL fan, by the way, since I had a front-row seat writing research reports for institutional investors when Ellison came gunning ruthlessly for the competition, starting with PeopleSoft.

      Regarding Microsoft’s support, you’ve got a better shot at having your problem heard by His Holiness or the Wizard of Oz. Has anyone ever actually clicked on the “Send Report to Microsoft” button following a crash or system error? RA

    • Tech January 16, 2013, 8:34 am

      I’m OK with skepticism. Quickly trying to dig some details from the brain…

      Our know-it-all DBA had set some pfile parms incorrectly. Instance would crash every night when full back would start. Pre-production with a week to go until go-live, and he couldn’t fix it. They asked me what to do and I said submit it to Oracle. I talked with them for a couple days and realized I was wasting my time. I dug into the pfile and found our wunderkid DBA had set the checkpoint frequency based on a 512 block size instead of 16k, which we were using. Result was checkpoint OVER checkpoint until they stacked up so deep the instance would fail. I figured that out by looking at pfile and log messages.

      Big one: multi-terabytes, 20 processors, etc. Many databases in the instance (split by geographic region). Using AQ to pop work onto the queue, and other jobs would eat from the queue. Big transactional volumes in a datawarehouse sized dataset. Could NOT get it to scale. After countless hours trying to make this scale, Oracle admitted AQ didn’t scale within an instance and that we would have to set up a separate instance per database! Ridiculous.

      Another big one: global index across many partitions holding terabytes. Every few months the instance would die and cause data corruption. This we couldn’t reproduce, and it went away when we went back to older indexing methods.

      The good thing about Oracle, from a consultant perspective, is that once a shop is tied in and having problems, it is a gravy train for the consultant.

  • Dave January 14, 2013, 4:58 pm



    An informative link, thanks. The author of this think-piece seems to know a great deal about MSFT’s products and their value to consumers. He has elucidated a number of well-argued scenarios for MSFT in 2013 that range from disaster to glowing success.

  • John Jay January 14, 2013, 3:08 pm

    As I was writing my first comment above, one of my other machines running on Vista is opening and closing the CD tray on its own.
    Over and over, with a little beep each cycle.

    • Rick Ackerman January 14, 2013, 3:53 pm

      Could be related to one of the dozen security ‘patches’ they send out every few days.

  • John Jay January 14, 2013, 3:04 pm

    I remember watching a history of the PC show on PBS, and the two things that have always stuck in my mind were some guy selling the the original DOS to Gates for 50k and IBM and Xerox thinking the PC would never go mass market.
    I have missed plenty of opportunities, but never on that scale.
    You never know.

  • Douglas January 14, 2013, 2:52 pm

    Chrome=Linux. Android=Linux. Mac=Linux (okay, so technically a watered down Unix, which is sister to Linux.) China uses? Linux. Bonus question: to escape US domination, Europe is promoting which popular operating system?

    Since MS has sucked long before 3.1 and has had embarassing failures and security holes since they moved from stolen DR DOS, (the Bill Gates top-level security initiative that had –Zero– impact a few years back comes to mind), it was a matter of time. Even for a company with a complete lock on the market, OS and Office. GAZ may have had a lock on autos in the USSR, but that didn’t mean people wouldn’t rather buy a Mercedes as soon as the monopoly cracked.

    PS, with open-source, spyware and back doors are harder to install as well.

    Reminds me of the Hemingway joke. “How did you go bankrupt? Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.” Charts may support this as we go.

  • Dave January 14, 2013, 1:45 pm

    Walter was updating a 2008 and 2009 era PCs. That’s one relic attempting to update two. BTW, HP Touchsmart 300 wasn’t given high marks at the time.

    Windows 8 is designed for newer tablets, pads and PC’s. Here’s an almost 5 star review showing how it excel s, no pun intended, at what is meant for.

    Even Apple has h/w prerequisites for Mac OS X and Apples upgrade list shows some 2007-2009 era Macs may not be able to run it. http://www.apple.com/osx/how-to-upgrade/

    Hopefully, you’re not trying to run Tradestation on a 2007/8 PC, since it’s prerequisites for Power User are Multi-core Intel® or AMD® processor at 3 GHz or faster. http://www.tradestation.com/trading-technology/system-requirements.

    You can see from this chart how far CPU performance has evolved since the HP Touchsmart 300 Athlon X2 chip, http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu.php?cpu=AMD+Athlon+II+X2+235e

    There may be better reasons to short MSFT but this review is not one of them.

    • Rick Ackerman January 14, 2013, 3:35 pm

      Your statistics describe only trees, Dave, not the forest. The always-inept MSFT survives in spite of itself because of its monopoly hold on 400 million PC users. But how strong is the incentive for those users to switch their desktops to Windows 8? Answer: Not very. As a Windows 7 user myself, I have many compelling reasons to stick with the O/S for as long as possible. It will take quite a few years for Microcrap to kill Win 7 and XP by slowly throttling support for those platforms. Unfortunately for Microsoft, but perhaps fortunately for computer users, that won’t be soon enough to prevent Win8 from becoming the unmitigated marketing disaster I’ve predicted.

  • Brian Ripley January 14, 2013, 7:42 am

    I went shopping for a tablet to travel with and I ended up buying a ChromeBook: http://www.google.com/intl/en_ca/chrome/devices/

    Cheaper than a tablet and has a real keyboard and runs on Google Chrome OS which is all in the cloud and therefore all OS updates happen in the cloud and do not depend on the hardware. Also a bonus, if someone steals your ChromeBook, all your data is in the cloud and all you have to do is get another ChromeBook and you’re back in business.

    The future is here now.

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