Dave Winer: ‘Microsoft isn’t an innovator, and never was – they are always playing catch-up’

“Microsoft isn’t an innovator, and never was. They are always playing catch-up, by design. That’s their M.O. They describe their development approach as ‘chasing tail lights.’ They aren’t interested in markets until they’re worth billions, so they let others develop the markets, and have been content to catch-up. This worked well for them in the 80s and through the mid-90s, when they were a more nimble company with stock options that were attractive to bright young people, when Bill G had something to prove, and was current on the latest technology. Maybe it still does work (obviously I have doubts), but it sure isn’t innovation, in any usual sense of the word,” Dave Winer writes for The Wall Street Journal Online.

Winer writes, “Microsoft is troubled. They’ve grown to the size of IBM when they ran circles around them, and they behave like IBM, they even talk about themselves like IBM used to talk about themselves, showing a dangerous confidence that is very un-Microsoft. Their strength, even charm, was their lack of hubris. Gates could always see their demise, vividly and clearly, this was a picture he drew for the people of Microsoft so they would always be looking for the angle that would save them from their demise. Today they seem to believe they’re as permanent as IBM thought they were in the 80s, when the conventional wisdom said that no one got fired for buying IBM. That didn’t save them when the PC industry changed the rules on them, much the way the rules are being changed on Microsoft.”

“Further, the one thing they used to do better than most tech companies, empathize with the user, is now a weak spot. I was an exclusive Windows user myself until mid-last year, when I switched to the Macintosh, because the malware situation had become so awful on Windows. I feel Microsoft could have done something about this before it became so bad, but they didn’t,” Winer writes.

Winer writes, “Their usual excuse for making difficult systems is their reliance on hardware [original equipment manufacturers], that’s why Windows is so hard to install and manage, they say. But who can they blame for the security problems of Windows?”

Winer writes, “No one wants to change operating systems, so this has given Microsoft many years to address the problem. They boast that they have solved them in Vista. I kind of doubt they have, but I we’ll have to see.”

Full article, really an online debate in which Robert Scoble fruitlessly tries to ascribe some measure of innovativeness to Microsoft, here.

MacDailyNews Note: Dave Winer, 51, is a software developer and author of the Scripting News blog, which he has written since 1997. Mr. Winer has helped create several standards related to Web publishing, including Really Simple Syndication or RSS. He was the founder and chief executive of UserLand Software Inc., and a founder of Symantec Corp.

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31 Comments

  1. Userland’s Frontier was an awesome sortadoeverything (but paint your house): db, web, scripting, etc.etc. environment.

    Boy did that bring back some memories. Am I showing my age?

    Dave Winer is/was a computer/web/app pioneer; and is a first class innovator. His opinion is worth slightly more than 2 cents!

    zac

  2. MDN,

    I probably speak for the majority or readers here when i say that I’m tired of Zune Tangs insane bullshit.

    I come hear to read apple related tech news. Most of the comments on article are based on reality and are somewhat informative.

    Please delete Zune Tangs comments as they are flat out lies that make no intelligent contribution to this site.

  3. MDN,

    I probably speak for the majority or readers here when i say that I’m Irritated by posters saying that they “probably speak for the majority of readers here”.

    I don’t come hear to read apple related tech news, I go to macsurfer for that. I come for entertainment.

    Please delete Irritated’s comment as it is flat out lies that make no intelligent contribution to this site.

  4. Yeah, I get a good laugh out of Zune Tang’s bullsh*t. Like the fact that I can run more software on my Mac (including his beloved XP) than he (or should I say it?) can on his cheap P.O.S. toy PC.

  5. I agree with b.

    For news I go to MacSurfer.

    I come here for the rants, and to occasionally contribute to them. And it’s fun noting how many posters don’t get the none-too-subtle, and ‘slightly past its use-by date’ satire of Zune Tang.

    (Note to self: Must check I’ve used “its and it’s” correctly before posting).

  6. I see “Winer writes” at least 4 times in there, and I wasn’t even looking hard. MDN needs a thesaurus.

    Don’t be stupid. That would be like the naive wannabe author trying as hard as possible to avoid “he said.”

  7. I’m sorry, RC, but Zune Tang jumped the shark days ago. Once or twice was funny. Now it’s just annoying. As the joke goes on, it gets harder and harder to distinguish from a common troll. I’m sick of it, just like I was sick of Sputnik.

  8. Dave Winer is an asshole. I don’t know why anyone listens to a word he says.

    Just to give you an example, a few years back, Winer had a heart attack, so his buddies all chipped in to buy him an iPod. Did he thank them? No. He immediately blogged a long essay about how much he hated the iPod.

    What an asshole.

  9. Although appearing as deceptions to the Western public, the descriptions uttered by the <strike>Iraqi information minister</strike> Zune Tang reflected what <strike>Saddam Hussein</strike> Steve Ballmer and his inner circle believed, and were well received in parts of the <strike>Arab</strike> IT world most fiercely opposed to the <strike>war</strike> iPod.

  10. If Zune Tang can be repetitive, I can too!

    MDN,

    I probably speak for the majority or readers here when i say that I’m Irritated by posters saying that they “probably speak for the majority of readers here”.

    I don’t come hear to read apple related tech news, I go to macsurfer for that. I come for entertainment.

    Please delete Irritated’s comment as it is flat out lies that make no intelligent contribution to this site.

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