Apple vs. Microsoft

Why does everyone insist on comparing Apple to Microsoft?  In my opinion, there is no comparison.  It’s apples and oranges… er, apples and flags.ADHERER

I am neither an Apple fanboy nor a Microsoft fanboy.  In fact, I think both companies have done wonderful things for us personal users of technology.  But to say that one is better than the other connotes a competition, a head-to-head, mano-a-mano situation that simply does not exist.  Let’s look at what I’m talking about.

First of all, the competition just isn’t there.  Apple creates products for Windows.  Microsoft creates products for Mac.  In fact, Microsoft is one of Apple’s biggest investors, mainly because the demise of Apple would raise big antitrust issues for Microsoft.  So a comparison, or rather a contrast, between the two is a nearly pointless endeavor.

Which is the better operating system?  Windows?  OSX?  What a silly question.  The basis of an operating system is to facilitate communication between software and hardware.  Until Windows 95, Windows wasn’t even an OS itself; it was a GUI.  It ran on MS-DOS.  And OSX is the same way.  OSX is a GUI and a collection of apps.  The real OS in OSX is BSD.  Yes, Unix.  Not written by Apple.

So the real comparison between OSX and Windows has to do with the apps that are bundled.  Most of the I’m-a-Mac-I’m-a-PC commercials discuss the iLife suite, which is iPhoto, iTunes, etc.  Okay, on this point, I will agree that the Mac apps are better than the canned Windows apps.  But the reality of that situation is that it has to be that way.  Microsoft has some pretty smart cookies working there in Redmond and if they wanted to write a better app than Windows Moviemaker, then I am convinced they could.  But the first thing that would happen is that Microsoft would get sued for anticompetitive practices.  All of the other sellers of movie-making programs that run on Windows would be put out of business.  Or at least they would claim that was the case and then Microsoft would spend a lot of their time in court.  But does anyone claim that Mac’s well-done applications are putting them out of business?  Of course not.

Okay, what about security?  I know everyone out there is saying that there are tons more viruses and other malware for Windows than there are for Macs.  There are many schools of thought on this, among my favorite is that the Mac isn’t a big target.  Virus authors wish to gather as many zombie computers as they can and a Mac virus is only going to infect one out of every ten or twenty machines it encounters.  However, there are also good points that OSX is built on a more inherently stable and secure platform, BSD.  There again, the comparison isn’t between Apple and Microsoft, is it?  One more point to consider: Apple just released their browser, Safari, for Windows.  This is apparently so that everyone can develop third-party apps for the iPhone… er, I mean, so that everyone can develop Web 2.0 and AJAX apps that will work on the iPhone.  Within two hours of the release of Safari for Windows, Apple was releasing a security patch for it.  What does that say?  Is Safari insecure in OSX as well?  Or is it the Windows platform that made it insecure?  You decide.  Either way, the insecurity of an operating system is, in my opinion, the fault of the dirty jerks that write the malware, not of the authors of the OS.  It is not Microsoft’s wish that you get infected by a virus, nor is it their fault.  That would be like blaming the glassmaker because their window didn’t stop a bullet that killed your loved one.  No, blame the person that pulled the trigger!

What about the claim that stuff on the Mac “just works?”  This one is so simple that it’s laughable.  Apple controls their hardware.  Are they a brilliant hardware company?  Of course not.  Today’s Macs are built from off-the-shelf parts the same as any Windows machine.  Now, Apple does choose some good solid parts and uses a very small subset of the options that are available, so testing to make sure that everything works just fine is a relatively easy job.  There are only a few dozen legitimate setups out there.  So any Mac software that’s written was done so on a system very similar to your Mac, so it is a good bet that it will work as well on both machines.  Microsoft, on the other hand, services basically an unlimited number of combinations of pieces of hardware.  There is no way on earth that they could ensure that every little thing will run on every combination of hardware.  So, if it’s a combination of hardware that is causing you grief, well who made that choice?  Microsoft?  They held a gun to your head and said, “get the cheap knock-off video card!”  I hardly believe that.  If you need someone to blame, find a mirror.  Or get a Mac if that’s going to be what you complain about.

So what are we really talking about here?  What are the comparison points where we can say Apple is better than Microsoft or vice-versa?  Hardware?  Microsoft will certify hardware but they aren’t a producer of it (with some small exceptions like the Zune, mice, joysticks, etc.).  And truly, neither is Apple, since they use off-the-shelf parts.  Operating system?  Nope, Windows is an OS, OSX is not.  The real comparison there is between Windows and BSD.  Software?  Okay, now we’re talking.  But Microsoft’s main software product is an operating system.  The other bundled stuff that comes with that is just incidental.  We could make comparisons between their productivity suites, but Microsoft’s Office exists while Apple’s does not.

So here’s the deal.  Figure out what you want to do with a computer and then pursue whatever the best avenue is for that.  Do you want to surf every pr0n site in existence and not get malware?  Then a Mac is for you.

Do you want to write emails and surf the web?  Well, any platform will do that.

Do you like to write software?  Windows probably offers more options for that, but a Mac has most of those tools available for free.  Go with the platform that you’re writing software for.

Writing web apps?  Anything will do.

Producing your band’s demo CD?  A Mac is probably better.

Looking for a basic machine for little money?  A Mac won’t work then, at least not a new one.

Want to play movies that you downloaded off of pirate sites?  Windows is probably a tad better for that.

Like to play around with hundreds and thousands of shareware apps?  Windows.

So in the end, realize that Apple products and Microsoft products can co-exist happily.  There’s no reason to fight.  So be nice.


Filed under Apple, Microsoft, Opinion

118 Comments on Apple vs. Microsoft

  1. sanu says:

    Please go to http://developer.apple.com and read up on OS stuff. OSX is not a wrapper on BSD. It just has a BSD layer which will give you the look and feel of BSD when you drop into the unix shell. All the kernel stuff is written by NeXT/Apple… including the networking stack, Virtual Memory, Process mgmt and IO stack(filesystems, storage layers etc.). If you dunno much abt operating systems, I suggest not commenting on ‘em in public forums. Peace.

  2. Michael Swanberg says:

    I definitely will read up on that… and I may stand corrected (I really don’t have the time or inclination to learn all of the layers of the Mac system). But I stand by my position on all other points.

    And I have to say… if it is an Apple-written kernel, then they shamelessly ripped Unix off.

    I take it you are a Mac fanboy and declare all things Apple to be superior to all things Microsoft?

    Perhaps you should address my other points before getting snotty.

  3. Yago Bal says:

    The article isn’t brilliant, but your answer in the comments is just sad.

    Sanu made an educated point (of course, you didn’t do your homework), and your argument is a lame personal offense, which shows the depth of your mental process. (It’s reflected on your writing, too.)

    If you’re not prepared to see your flaws exposed, don’t publish on a weblog.

  4. Michael Swanberg says:

    Hmmmm, interesting… using personal offense to decry personal offense. How… ironic…

    Alright, let’s talk about my article.

    Of course it isn’t brilliant. I jotted it off from the top of my head. It was never intended to be a deep, researched, intense project (I have a job, and not as a journalist, so I can’t spend time delving into the cracks and crevices of everything I write here… note the “opinion” tag that is turned on for this article). It’s a blog, dude… get over it.

    Second, Sanu was right there… he almost got all the way through his point, which was good and informative… and then he went all vigilante and had to bust out the insults. Well, if he can’t take it (and if you can’t take it), then don’t dish it out. I deserve the right to defend myself in the manner in which I am attacked.

    Next, you make some comments… but none of them are backed up in the least. Sanu gave a link to where one could go to see what he’s talking about. Where’s your brilliant point? And where’s the backup?

    So it seems to me that you feel that the reverse to my treatise is fact? So, we should all choose up sides? Apple or Microsoft? Is that your idea?

    In the end, if my “lame personal offenses” invalidate my ideas, then surely you can see that yours and Sanu’s lame personal offenses achieve the same goal.

    The real point of the essay is that people can have different ideas and still get along. There doesn’t HAVE to be argument among the disagreement. Are you saying that you disagree with that premise?

    Let me know…

  5. Z says:

    Actually shouldn’t these people be staying off your property rather than shunning you away? the internet is a free community. BTW microsoft IS better, y? Bill Gates for starters… and mucho mulah.

    but in all reality if you’re a serious developer then macs are just stupid… they’ll just be replaced with consoles soon, no difference.

    keep up the good work and dont let dumb shits get in your way michael, you argue a very good point. apple peeps are usually snobs, and have poor reasons for their “superiority”. i have a zune, windows vista ultimate, and i am a microsoft fanboy. i hate everything apple because you can do shit with a mac that you can’t do with a pc. but a pc can do everything a mac can. come on… they run intel now… bleak points apple fan boys…

  6. Z says:

    lol i especially like the fact that apple woulnd exist if it werent for MS… BITCH!

  7. Michael Swanberg says:

    Thanks, dude.

    Ha! Good one. I don’t know if Macs will be replaced with consoles, but that’s certainly a funny point. :-)

    The best thing about being a Mac developer is that many compilers come with OSX on the disc. I wish Microsoft would do the same.

    I have to agree on the Bill Gates point. Everyone knows that Woz was the Apple tech genius whereas Jobs was the marketing genius. Gates seemed to do it all.

    I am actually sort of a fanboy of both Apple and Microsoft. I think MS gets a raw deal from a lot of naysayers and Apple gets a lot of praise where not much is due. But they are doing a lot better with their products since they went Intel, I must say.

  8. Z says:

    apple wasnt that bad until that ipod took off… great companies were left int the dust… simply because apple advertised so much! i used to have a creative zen… so awesomem… cheaper than ipod and could do more! WTF?

  9. Z says:

    btw you do bring out the points that people are just blind to see… mainly windows has more free software, so it doesnt need all the bundled crap. microsoft loves developers, SDK’s for all! if they charged less for the os they probly wouldnt be hated as much lol.

    funny, my friends hdd crashed in his mac… my my pc (thinkpad) you can just pull out the hdd and swap in a new one, his mac had to be completely taken apart.. keybard, mobo everything. i guess simple is better.

  10. Baron says:

    Apple doesnt have quality hardware. The failure rate on apple
    internals is redonk! My bro in law has been using my sis’s pc for ages
    because the nic on his mac took a dump and there wasnt much in the way
    of a workaround. Although hes since switched to a usb solution (i
    think)…there was still this extended period where it seemed like
    there was no easy workaround. What apple has done, as a provider of
    both the hardware and software platforms, has provided an ease of use
    by narrowing the scope of the functionality of its peripherals. Take
    that stupid apple wireless router. It has the wan rj45 jack, the power
    prongs that pop out of the case, and a goddamn 2 color interface
    light. Oh it works as soon as its plugged in, but these mac blowhards
    come to us pc users because they dont know how to set up a secure
    network…and their bandwidth gets usurped by anyone with wifi and the
    intelligence to know a free hot spot when they see one. I have a ton
    more to say on the subject, but im done taking a shit and my thumbs
    hurt from typing this out on my phone(Nokia N73, NOT iPhone).

  11. Baron says:

    Additionally, Look at an apple product like the nano. Anyone recall the public furor over a screen that would get so scratched in a pocket full of lint that it looked like someone too a belt sander to it? And itunes, what a complete and total lack of corporate responsibility. itunes is the most common front for credit card fraud nowadays. you get your card stolen? some asshat busser at the resturant you were at last night just got himself $500 worth of crap music from itunes on your dime. Good luck reaching someone at apple. their customer support is NON EXISTANT. I’ve seen an entire order of the most extreme high end G4′s, all for use across various departments of internationally syndicated magazines, that had a 96% failure rate out of the box, because the internal architecture of the boxes were utter crap.
    Talk about form over function will you…what about the cube…that thing isnt even good to keep tissues in, let alone stuff a computer in there. constant heat issues, and a power button that would power it on or off if a stream of sunlight hit it and changed the ambient temp enough. Innovative my ass. Here’s the only good use for it:
    http://www.techgadgetforums.com/files/apple_aquarium.jpg
    And once the iphone hits shelves, expect another flood of public outcry as people realize they can only get about 40 mins of talk time out of it if they watch a movie, or listen to a couple of tracks, or take a few photos, and we’ll see how underpowered that battery really is.
    And of course, you’ll be locked into using itunes for moving any media over to it…
    Its quad band, but not 3G, so you can use it in all over the world, but get data at a sluggish rate.
    Anyone wonder what the touch screen will do when you are holding the phone to you head?

  12. sotark says:

    the Mac Vs PC ads are plain BS. As long as Macs remain unupgradeable, they are worthless.

  13. Michael Swanberg says:

    I don’t want to contradict you, Baron, since I believe that the iPhone will be a huge iFlop, but they just announced that the battery life will be excellent. Of course, I am doubtful… the new claims are an increase of like 500% over previous observations, so it seems about as dubious as the claims of iPod battery life.

    Also, the iPhone is supposed to detect your cheek and disable the touchscreen. It’ll still get filthy, though, I’m sure.

    Excellent point, sotark. One thing that I love about Microsoft is that they try very hard to remain backward compatible as much as possible. Whereas Apple will frequently make an OS upgrade break nearly all software for previous versions.

    I know you’re referring to hardware, but I think the same can be said for software as well.

  14. Baron says:

    The only battery life prediction I would trust would be one from a company that makes cellular handsets, such as LG, Nokia, Samsung, Motorola. They have tried and true experience when it comes to real world application testing. While they are generally optomistic, I find it extremely hard to believe that Apple has allowed for a 500% increase in battery life, without having some massive chunky battery sticking out of the iPhone’s ass.

  15. Michael Swanberg says:

    I think Apple is perfectly able to run battery life tests and collect accurate numbers… and then report numbers that are far inflated over the ones they collected :-)

    I mean come on… who gets more than a few hours video playback from their iPod? And they want us to believe we can get 4-6? Feh!

  16. a dude w/ a mac. says:

    well i dont want to be mean but i luv my make….. i do however see the complications it has so im not going to say its better than a pc. i like them both. naturally because i own a mac i like it better but like i said its not as pc friendly as the apple company says… its also limited wen it comes to share ware…. programings a drag too. pc’s are good because they are cheaper and are more comonly used so im glad that you guys use them…. personally i prefer not to run apple only or visa versa….. i wanna use both. make peace between the two…. now apple can run windows by the way…. and you guys can google this “OSX on a PC” there is a hack on a chip that you over ride and you can then install OSX on a PC computer…. somthing that normally would not work…. so if you want just do that.

  17. manpan says:

    Bill Gates grew Microsoft into a large multui-billion worldwide corporation using questionable unethical business practices most of which could be considered illegal. Microsoft actually stole technology from Apple for Windows and some of Apple’s ideas (see Pirates of the Sillicon Valley where Jobs suggests the demise of IBM by delivering computers to the Japanese market with Apple software — I know its a movie but its based on reality) — I have used Windows PCs for years before switching to Macs in 2003. I try to avoid Microsoft products whenever I can because Microsoft (and you can care to agree or disagree with this statement) is a poor competitor in the market and make second rate products. That is why they try to force competitors out of each market they enter. Even when Microsoft makes a good product if you buy it that will have negative consequences for the rest of the market.

    During the original browser war Netscape was popular although their business had some problems — Microsoft saw the browser as a threat to their ubiquitous and dominant Windows operating system (while Netscape popularized the browser) they were crushed cruelly by Microsoft when they bundled Internet Explorer with Windows. Apple began bundling apps with their Mac OS back when they were struggling to bring their company back into profitability and continue to do so even now — most often their bundling does not have an adverse effect on competitors (although their bundling of MS’s Mac IE may have contributed to the harm of Netscape’s browser as it saw declines in its user base on both Mac and Windows platforms.

    I try as I have stated to avoid Microsoft products — that applies even when using the Mac as you know Microsoft makes software for both Windows and Mac OS X and so does Apple — I have MS Office X for Mac and still use that version. I have not upgraded to Office 2004 and won’t upgrade to Office 2008 either. I have no plans to upgrade my PC that I still have to Windows Vista from XP or buy a new PC with Vista nor shall I upgrade my Office software for WIndows to the latest version. Will not pay MSN’s monthly subscription fees for a premium account nor shall I buy XBox or Zune.

    Microsoft is better as a software company their hardware compared to their software offerings suck — even their software is not the best but still better than their hardware. Apple has succeeded with iPod + iTunes because they used superior software to Microsoft’s Windows Media Player while device makers of other hand held music/video players are dependent on Microsoft to supply the software. Apple’s level of independence enabled them to make better software. iPod is successful largely because of iTunes software and ease of use.

    In the consumer electronics space there is plenty of choice Microsoft cannot limit choice to Zune like they limit Windows users most often to their software. I will boycott Microsoft’s Windows monopoly as I said by not buying Vista either at retail to upgrade my PC or buy it bundled with a new PC — I’m also boycotting their Office software monopoly by refusing to upgrade my existing copy of Office for Mac or WIndows.

  18. Michael Swanberg says:

    Excellent post, but I have to disagree on a few points.

    If my Marketing class in college taight me one thing, it’s that marketing is part of the product. And Microsoft sure has won that game, judging by the installed-base.

    As for Microsoft’s hardware vs. software, I have to disagree. The Xbox and the Zune are far better products than anything they’ve produced in the software arena. In my opinion.

  19. manpan says:

    It is highly possible that if Apple had licensed the original Macintosh OS when they made it to other computer manufacturers, continued innovating the OS and continued the license agreements — imagine being able to install Mac OS on a Dell or HP PC capable of running Microosft Windows. In the event Mac OS could run on x86 non Apple based hardware all this time and kept being innovated (Mac clones were killed in 1997 — so the Mac OS had remained licensed till then but Apple was unable to keep innovating it all that time and until buying NeXT had no roadmap good enough for a Mac OS to succeed OS 9) it is possible that Mac OS and Apple software also being everywhere would be capable of maintaining its market share of the 1980s (remember when Mac first came out it had the type of market share Microsoft enjoys today but Apple made the mistake of not licensing Mac OS when Microsoft did and even when Apple experimented with Mac clones it was probably too late they waited till Windows got good market share and Apple during the 1990s was struggling to survive as it lost its flair for innovation and was managed just by marketing guys — the point is Apple would have kept its original market share and the Mac OS would today be the dominant OS platform — with Windows probably having 5 or 6% of the market or maybe Microsoft would have even less than that after adding Linux to the equation.

    Yes Microsoft has more market share than Apple because its OS is everywhere — its available to everyone regardless of what computer they use — any x86 hardware whether Intel or AMD will do — imagine if all those Dell, HP, Gateway, Toshiba, Sony, Lenovo PCs could run Windows, Linux and OS X all along (they could also run OS 9, OS 8, System 7 and earlier) — for OS X to be available to everyone more people would probably choose OS X or Linux over Windows — OS X market share could even now grow more than it is if OS X was not limited to Apple hardware — Apple would already have 90% of OS market if its OS had always been licensed and innovated properly from the start — and Motorola would probably have the type of dominance Intel does.

    In a comparison article I read comparing Windows Media Center, MSN TV (formerly WebTV), and XBox 360 to Apple TV etc it discussed that Microsoft stopped further development of MSN TV because they would give the hardware away free and make money from long-term subscribers but no one would sign up long-term only short-term — when making Windows Media Center Microsoft did not want to lose money from selling the hardware of even giving it away free — they had problems with MSN TV sales so they decided to give Media Center to PC makers and let them compete amongst themselves on hardware sales — Microsoft would make money only on the software.

    It mentioned the Apple TV concept and said Microsoft tries to limit the available software products on the market (and hardware products when Microsoft tries to make the hardware) from third parties because Microsoft makes second rate products and people tend to buy Microsoft products more often when they have to. Their is no other choice — when a better alternative is present consumers will buy non Microsoft products but Microsoft tries to force competitors out of the market so it can limit the market to its own products forcing consumers to use second rate products made by Microsoft.

    http://osi-speaks.blogspot.com/2007/08/apple-i-phone-is-hacked.html#links

    That’s the above link to the article. It states Microsoft HATES COMPETITION BECAUSE ITS A POOR COMPETITOR.

    Windows has blue screen of death and defective XBox 360s have what is called red ring of death. One problem I have with Media Center is I would have to buy a new PC preinstalled or bundled with Microsoft’s Media Center software to use it — if I already have a PC and wanted Media Center why couldn’t I buy it at retail with a Media Center remote and use it with my existing PC why get a new Media Center PC why couldn’t XP Media Center be installed on a PC with XP Prof etc — same could be said of Vista Media Center in a few years why not have it on a Vista Ultimate PC or Vista Home PC.

    Existing Windows users can’t upgrade to new hardware and buy the Media Center software off the shelf, they have to buy a whole new PC. It would actually be quite difficult for Microsoft to support any random TV tuner hardware users might dig up, so selling Windows Media Center as a package deal makes sense.

    Another issue: The trouble for Microsoft is cable and satellite companies feel no need to sell their customers on Media Center when they can use DVRs of their own.

    Here’s what prompted Microsoft to make Windows Media Center: By converting MSN TV into Windows Media Center, Microsoft realized that the PC making stooges could lose all the money competing over sales of new TV-centric PCs, allowing Microsoft to safely return to its easy profiteering as a software slumlord.

    I WOULD RATHER USE NON MICROSOFT PRODUCTS. LIKE I SAID I have Office X for Mac and Office 2002 for Windows XP I expect to upgrade my Intel based Mac with Front Row from Tiger to Leopard (all Macs now come with Front Row and those that don’t provided they have Tiger installed can use third party software Front Row enabler to enable Front Row and all you need is to get an Apple Remote you can buy a standalone remote just to use with the computer) and get Apple’s iWork 08 — currently have iWork 06 with iLife 06 — will upgrade to iWork 08 but not get Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac or get Office 2007 for Windows because I don’t want to contribute anymore to the Office monopoly of Microsoft.

    I can use non Microsoft products. I am considering keeping my XP machine when I need Windows only apps but otherwise run Mac OS X and Ubuntu Linux.

    I just love using my existing Mac Mini I would buy the new 120 GB model with Intel Core 2 Duo if I didn’t already own the 80 GB Intel Core Duo model – hope to someday own Apple iMac and Apple TV.

    TiVo seems to be having some problems lately differentiating itself well only reason I would buy TiVo is because of Amazon Unbox deal but I don’t use Unbox — most cable and satellite companies now make their own DVRs that work well with their television services its more convenient to use a DVR from my cable or satellite provider than a third party like TiVo. However, TiVo is a good alternative to using Windows Media Center — I like alternative services like the ones TiVo offers where you don’t even need a PC for your multimedia — video on demand can go straight to the TV — of course this defeats the purpose of Apple TV also since Apple like Microsoft requires a connection be made to a computer.

    Why should Apple TV have to connect to a Mac at all to sync content — why can’t content be downloaded straight to Apple TV via Internet? These are all good questions — Apple uses the same requirements as Microsoft you need a computer. I would sometimes prefer a solution where the content is downloaded straight to the TV.

  20. manpan says:

    Oops here is the link to the article I mentioned (sorry for double post) http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/841EDBB5-1245-42AD-A733-B9B29957347B.html

  21. Michael Swanberg says:

    Wow, that is a lot of stuff to take in.

    But I have to take a bit of a contrarian position. I’m not a Microsoft fanboy, by any stretch of the imagination, nor am I am Mac fanboy (even though I just bought a MacBook Pro… sweet mobile gaming rig!), but I do understand that there are pressures on Microsoft that are not on Apple… and vice-versa.

    Apple’s position seems to be as egotistical as its leader, which is that there is one best way to do things and Apple will tell you what that way is. Sometimes features disappear from version to version (witness the current furvor over iMovie 8 ). For instance, my 4G iPod had a way to turn the backlight on and off easily: hold the menu button for a few seconds. But my Video iPod lost that functionality. I can just envision Steve Jobs saying, “ah, I don’t use that, so get rid of it.” And they don’t care that I found it to be the most useful feature.

    In any case, with this attitude, Apple could never appeal to the majority of computer users. OSX would have to have a major shift in paradigm to get to that point.

    Moving on, Apple is a smaller company and spends relatively little of their time on bug fixes. Closed hardware combinations make for more stable software. Therefore, the Apple geniuses (pun intended) can spend more time innovating. Hence you have good usable applications that come bundled with the OS, which I think is great.

    But Microsoft can’t get into that game. Anything they do that is competitive in the market gets them sued. Windows Moviemaker simply can’t be a great full-featured product because then Sony and Pinnacle and ADS and others would sue them as anticompetitive. As an example, Microsoft wanted to lock down the kernel in Vista to prevent viruses making alterations (think rootkit). Well, immediately, McAfee and Norton/Symantic started complaining that their anti-virus software NEEDed to hook into the kernel to work properly. Imagine that: they wanted Microsoft to keep their OS vulnerable so that they could keep selling antivirus software. Yeesh!

    I forget which, but either Bill Gates or Steve Ballmer once quipped that Windows was safer because it’d had more attacks, and had hence been patched. As absurd as that is, there is some logic to the statement. Microsoft has a lot more experience in making Windows work on extremely varied hardware platforms than Apple does. I fear that if OSX were allowed to be installed on any ol’ hardware platform, it would suddenly cease to be any good. It would probably break a LOT! And there would be kernel panics a-plenty!

    Moving on to the links to TV. I think that Media Center is quite a good little chunk of code, especially as it’s been updated for Vista. And, unlike Front Row, it has recording and scheduling built-in.

    I can’t say why Media Center isn’t allowed to be sold as an add-on to any operating system. Perhaps they allowed MC to have some OS hooks and so had to bundle it as a different product altogether. Who knows?

    But I can say with great ease why AppleTV needs a computer to interface with: Mac sales. Ditto with iPods. The two consumer products have boosted sales of Macs, and that’s what Apple wants. But I agree that it shouldn’t be that way.

    In the end, Apple’s products and Microsoft products have their greatnesses. They’re just great in different ways. It’s as though one is wide and the other tall. OSX does some things really well, things that I would think are super obvious. But then they can also get very narrowminded about some things. Most Windows-friendly appliances try to cover most bases, play most formats, etc. But products like AppleTV only play a narrow field of formats. Why? Again, it seems as though Apple knows the best way and that’s the only way. I am just glad that they do know what they’re doing most of the time.

    For my money, OSX gets some things very right. They bundle compilers on the disc. There are “folder actions”. And Automator is the reason I bought my first Mac. Windows has none of these things, or else some pale substitutes.

    Then again, I imagine that if Microsoft suddenly added these features, then they would be sued by the many companies that have filled those gaps in the past.

    -Mike

  22. TheNetAvenger says:

    Sanu needs to go back to the Apple developer site and re-read the information about the constructs of the OSX kernel.

    If he thinks BSD is just the UNIX shell interface he has very little understanding of kernel or kernel API design.

    Technically it could be said that OSX is based on a modified MACH kernel with a BSD API interface; however, in modern ‘terminology’ even Apple admits that this is all considered to be part of the kernel.

    Apple did modify the MACH kernel so that it is not as restricted as the original monolithic MACH design, but Apple didn’t come up with this change on their own, as this has been done in many OSes over the years, most notably Windows NT in 1992 which also has a MACH type of kernel that is modified to support multiple API interfaces so that it also isn’t hindered or ‘tied up’ by a single queue monolithic kernel design.

    OSX is very much a BSD based UNIX OS, as the upper levels of the OS that Apple designed, including the GUI all interface with and use the APIs of the BSD layer.

    When talking about kernels and OS base level technologies there is a lot of confusion in the OSX and Windows worlds on BOTH sides of the argument.

    For example:

    Windows as we know it today technically runs two kernels for the Windows (Win32) subsystem. NT is the base OS kernel which is quite hidden from most developers and then there is the Win32 kernel which is more known to developers of Win32 software.

    The NT kernel was designed specifically to allow upper level kernels to run on the OS and even run multiple ones at the same time. This is why the NT kernel is sometimes called a client/server kernel architecture as it supports multiple kernel clients to the main NT kernel server.

    So the Windows that everyone sees is the Win32 subsystem or Win64 subsystem depending on whether it is the 32bit or 64bit version (and on the 64bit version Win64 and Win32 are separate subsystems). In the past OS/2 and POSIX ran in their own subsystems ‘independent’ of Win32 as well.

    Today Microsoft ships a free FULL BSD based UNIX subsystem that runs side by side with Win32/64, and this is easily done because of the multi-OS/Kernel subsystem kernel technology of NT. So WindowsXP,2003, and Vista users (it is on the Vista DVD) can turn on the BSD UNIX subsystem and compile pretty much any UNIX applications or binaries and they run natively using the BSD kernel interfacing with the NT kernel.

    On the other side:

    Apple has done a great job of working the MACH kernel and creating a well designed I/O (Driver) system for OSX that gives it great performance and makes devices very easy to interact with what would normally be a complex interface if they had used the BSD I/O model.

    So there is a lot of ‘lost’ respect for the ‘great’ technologies both of these companies have brought to users and also brought to the computing world that is completely overlooked when OS love becomes a form of love/hate or religious conversation.

    If people are actually interested in ‘specific’ kernel technologies and how or why they matter, I suggest reading up on not only Apple’s site, but Wikipedia, BSD, MACH, Linux and even Microsoft web sites.

    There are TONS of great ‘technical’ articles on the subject, and I can guarantee everyone will find some crumb of new information.

  23. manpan says:

    Well I watched the video podcast of the All Things Digital D 2007 event where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates were both interviewed and Steve Jobs said even today he doesn’t really care about getting Mac OS X to 80% market share if he wanted to he could license Mac OS X today — Michael Dell has already expressed that he would be interested in selling OS X to his customers if Apple let him — this is the same man who in 1997 said he would shut Apple down when asked how to fix Apple at the time Apple was in danger.

    One thing that bugs me today about Microsoft is that they blackmailed Apple when Windows 1.0 was released to license certain aspects of the Macintosh graphical user interface to them for Windows. Apple had originally refused and Microsoft threatened then to pull Office for Mac off the market if not given a license so Apple under Sculley relented. At the time I think Jobs had already left the company. This was after he left but before his return. Eventually Apple sued Microsoft for violating Apple copyrights — Apple had not filed any patents at the time though but if they had the case might have been able to go differently — then again the issue that they had licensed certain elements enabled the court to dismiss Apple’s case against Microsoft. Apple lost its case on the merits Microsoft stole Apple’s graphical user interface.

    I know Apple actually acquired some or all of the code for that interface from Xerox originally but getting into that topic would take more time and research for me to discuss.

    Microsoft today has seen its reputation to a certain extent tarnished — it does not have the popularity it had in 2002. The antitrust charges have affected their reputation and their inability to deliver Windows Vista on time while Apple kept issuing new updates to Mac OS X like 10.2 Jaguar, 10.3 Panther, 10.4 Tiger and soon 10.5 Leopard also have had an effect.

    In the U.S. their status seems to still be protected and it is sad that the Justice Department has taken Microsoft’s side in the EU case against the company and said that the decision against Microsoft is bad. The Clinton Justice Department — and I’m sure had Al Gore been elected a Gore Justice Department would have had a stronger line on Microsoft imposing the same type of remedies.

    Forcing Microsoft to pay fines isn’t going to make them comply with the law they have enough money to keep paying the fines and can still profit but actions like breaking the company up, forcing them to unbundle Windows and/or license their protocols to competitors in a fair way without overcharging for them are needed steps against government should take. The breakup is a bit extreme but the other ones should be done. Alas the Bush Justice Department hit Microsoft on the wrist and let them go — they were too lenient in the settlement it really benefited Microsoft more than consumers.

    Microsoft has the money and the resources to continue to fight cases in the courts against it for years if they wanted to unless they reached a point where they felt continuing the case would further hurt their reputation to a certain point where they would rather face the consequences than continue.

    In Europe Microsoft has two choices live with the consequences or appeal to European Court of Justice and if they lose their then there is no higher court for them to appeal to.

    Even the article I mentioned refers to Microsoft as a software slumlord — they discontinued MSN TV formerly Web TV because they were losing money on the hardware — they gave hardware away for free to sign up long term subscribers but found that hard and so lost money — they created Windows Media Center as a replacement and not wanting to lose money on hardware sales of Media Center just decided to let the PC vendors fight out whose hardware sells better allowing Microsoft to focus on what it is good at being a software slumlord.

    I recently got Apple iWork 08 Family Pack for Mac for the low price of $99. That might not seem very low but compared to the pricing Microsoft plans for Mac Office 2008 whichever version you choose all will cost more than $100 and the fact that Windows users can use the latest version of Open Office free as opposed to getting Office 2007 and still have compatibility with Microsoft Office files I prefer to use the alternatives.

    I’m not trying to be a Microsoft hater or an Apple fan boy far from it yes I like Apple products but I’m just saying Microsoft mainly copies Apple’s innovations and does so in a poor manner — if Microsoft is going to copy Apple (copying is okay Steve Jobs once said good artists create and great artists copy see Pirates of the Silicon Valley) they can make copies that are equal to or better than the original.

    When Microsoft copies Apple they also deny it — they say Gadgets in Windows Vista are different than Mac OS X Tiger’s Widgets. They however, are very similar features but Microsoft lies that they are not. They said parental controls in Windows Vista is a relatively new feature that has never been in a computer operating system before — well yes Windows before Vista has never had that feature but Mac OS X has had it since Tiger was released.

    Here’s ANOTHER INTERESTING POINT regarding web browsers: Apple created Safari so they could replace the lagging Internet Explorer for Mac with something better. They succeeded so well that Microsoft just gave up on IE for Mac. It takes a pretty impressive product to get Microsoft to just give up and quit the field, and this is further evience that no one really needs Microsoft. Safari is fast, it’s standards-compliant, it includes the kind of usability features that Apple is famous for, and it’s available free of charge. And now it’s even available for Windows.

    I got that from the following website called Just Say No To Microsoft: http://microsoft.toddverbeek.com/

    Microsoft has lost any good credibility it may have enjoyed in the 1990s due to antitrust issues, its lack of good innovation — this can be debated but it does not really contribute anything worthwhile and only reason it makes XBox game console is not because it wants to profit from it — but because people who buy games consoles have less reasons to buy new computers when these games consoles start integrating other functions like movie playback etc.

    You know there are some concerns of Apple developing a digital monopoly with iTunes, the iTunes Store, iPods, iPhones, Apple TV, digital music and video downloads etc but they still captivate the minds and hearts of consumers — they are still supported by plenty of people — their fan base has grown since the first iPods were released that is they still have a great reputation — any concerns of antitrust abuse have not become that serious as of yet and they are really innovating making great products which other companies like Microsoft are trying to copy.

    One example as I said before about Windows Gadgets versus Apple’s Widgets Microsoft calls the software that controls Gadgets the Windows Sidebar if I’m not mistaken — well Mac OS X’s widgets are controlled by the Dashboard.

    Just a different name that is all. The only innovation Microsoft has provided as far as I’m concerned in Windows is the Start Menu. That’s the only thing innovative in Windows.

    If Microsoft does not appeal the EU decision its because they are tired of dragging the case on any further because they don’t want to risk injuring their reputation any further but the damage is already done either way — if they try to fight it further the damage will become worse. They also have a court hearing in South Korea on October 17th if I’m not mistaken.

    The money paid to Microsoft to buy their cheap products — and by that I mean that sometimes if their products are good its just because nothing better is offered by competitors or Microsoft has forced competitors off the market — most users that don’t switch operating systems just want to stay in their comfort zone and not try anything new — if you ask Microsoft they actually call Apple an opportunity for them to make their products available to even more users than their own Windows customers — even the Zune team sees Apple as an opportunity as well as a competitor for expanding the market for mp3 players — and Zune wants to obviously dethrone Apple but Jobs joked at All Things Digital D 2007 that a number of employees in the Zune team are iPod owners.

    A number of factors have contributed to Microsoft having a poor reputation today with Apple being more popular — for Microsoft to ever become a growth stock again they would have to do something very fantastic. Microsoft’s only major products to date are Windows and Office and with Windows sales slowing somewhat — I read somewhere that they will rely more on Office eventually — Windows dominance won’t go away but Mac market share is growing faster than the rest of the market — Windows Vista adoption is not as high as Microsoft originally hoped they have since allowed XP to be brought back for the time being.

    Most people getting Vista most likely are getting them preinstalled on new computers — I doubt existing users are rushing to buy it at retail and upgrade their existing computers. Vista has been having some problems and so Microsoft brought back XP but plan to eventually remove XP sometime in 2008-2009 or 2010.

  24. manpan says:

    Sorry for the double post but Michael Swanberg I just wanted to add I agree with a number of posts in your reply to my 2nd post on this article. With this being my 4th post and the one before when I mention the All Things Digital D event being the 3rd post.

  25. Michael Swanberg says:

    That’s a lot to absorb. All good info.

    However, I have to somewhat disagree that Microsoft has lost popularity because of the antitrust suits. For the most part, anyone who cares about that is going to be savvy enough to know how to install whatever alternatives they want (Firefox, VLC, etc.). And anyone who might be the victims of the antitrust are most likely not sophisticated enough computer users to really care. These are the people who use phrases like “the blue ‘e’ is the internet, right?” They are familiar with the name Microsoft, but they aren’t exactly going to install Debian just for fun or for an alternative.

    Still, very good info. I enjoy your comments.

    -Mike

  26. manpan says:

    Well I didn’t say the antitrust issues were the only reason but it is somewhat of a factor I can’t imagine Microsoft’s stockholders at the time were happy about the antitrust lawsuit and it did scare away potential investors that had not invested yet but might have been interested in doing so in future.

    Microsoft did lose popularity though on a lot of other fronts — its delaying of Windows Vista and when it did ship it was not the product Microsoft originally planned for it — they removed a number of key features they originally planned for Vista when it was still Longhorn. They wanted a new file system Windows Future Storage (WinFS) that is not yet delivered via Vista as planned and they abandoned a number of features that were too ambitious for them to include. If they still tried to put WinFS in Vista it still might not be on the market. They had to remove those to get it to ship and didn’t want to delay it too much more longer than they had before finally shipping it.

    The copy protection in Vista and the fact Vista requires so much memory just for graphics — which effects the performance of the computer is for a me a no show. I have no interest in Vista ever I agree with the Bad Vista campaign principles trash Vista not your computer.

    Perhaps I was too specific or not specific enough about the antitrust suit issues — I didn’t mean to say they are unpopular because of antitrust even Apple is possibly beginning to face similar charges at least in Europe over iTunes but worldwide they are still popular — Apple bundles Mac OS X by the way Microsoft can argue in the same way they have tried bundling Windows but Apple bundles for the benefit of its users and Apple owns the Mac market — no other computer vendors supply Mac OS — Microsoft though it has been found bundles to protect its dominance in operating systems software — they bundled IE as i have mentioned before with Windows because they saw Netscape as a threat to their operating system and crushed them.

    Real Networks has applied same argument to Media Player before Microsoft bundled Media Player Real had more market share but suddenly WIndows Media Player has more market share after the bundling — over the years Windows Media has grown because of unfair bundling.

    So Microsoft does not bundle to improve the OS as it claims but to put others at a disadvantage who can’t compete the same way as Microsoft — if Microsoft bundles Media Player Real is at a disadvantage because they cannot react with a similar bundling deal — that is out of the question for them. Of course there are the issues raised that people wouldn’t use Real anyway because of spyware, adware or other intrusive software in their products.

    Still Microsoft has sought to defend its Applications Barrier To Entry — the ongoing antitrust case in other parts of the world — have effected their global reputation — and the fact that competitors have finally started to challenge them and have been successful this long in doing so is having an effect.

    So a number of key issues are to blame for Microsoft’s declining popularity. Antitrust is just one of them. Their inability so far to make a profit in most divisions outside Windows and Office — those are their only 2 major revenue generators and with problems facing both units — WIndows sales are slowing although still dominant and Office is being confronted with newer, cheaper sometimes free alternatives and Microsoft is losing money in Entertainment and Devices division responsible for XBox and Zune.

    It would be ideal for all games on the PC to be coded with OpenGL and OpenGL performance to be improved for high definition graphics then all games can be more easily ported from Windows to Mac and Linux — since Apple switched to Intel it has become somewhat easier for port to Mac but even then code has to be switched from DirectX to OpenGL. Microsoft by using DirectX while it can’t stop gaming on non Windows platforms it can discourage it and make it somewhat harder to do — so they can maintain a monopoly on PC Gaming via Windows — PC games today are commonly meant to refer to WIndows games but PC games are any games made for PC operating systems.

    Now Microsoft also wants to control the game console market with XBox and now XBox 360 a problem with the XBox 360 is faulty hardware parts — ever hear of the Red Ring of Death like Windows Blue Screen of Death need I say more! Microsoft has had to extend warranties on XBox 360 and do servicing and repairs — even when Halo 3 came some discs arrived scratched.

    The 360′s disc drive could reportedly even scratch discs inserted by their owners into the XBox 360 disc drive. Part of the reason XBox is having losses is because of the defects in the console(s) and that Microsoft has to pay for the repairs or replacements.

    Did you check out the website I mentioned on Just Say No To Microsoft: http://microsoft.toddverbeek.com/

    It mentions how Microsoft ended Mac IE partly because of Safari which is now also available for Windows.

    It also mentions a number of other things worth reading.

    By the way I have Firefox and VLC but most users often use the software bundled with the operating system because they are almost told to do so — why else does Microsoft push its trash into the computers of Windows users? Some of it may be worthwhile but some of it is just bloatware.

    When Jobs returned and no one else would write very many apps for Mac Apple started making its own apps which it included with the Mac OS as an incentive to Mac users to use — even if Apple made these programs and then sold them separately but with Mac interest lower at the time and less development few would buy the apps so Apple bundled them — Apple sells the Mac and gives everything for it away free to encourage users to try it and if they like it they buy it and then Apple when it first started doing this developed a way to save its business and since it became a successful strategy even after surviving from bankruptcy decided to stick with a winning strategy.

  27. Michael Swanberg says:

    There are a few things I would like to point out; these are merely my opinion, however.

    I think Microsoft is being treated unfairly in the antitrust. As long as they don’t code Windows to break others’ apps (which they have done, BTW), I don’t see what the problem is. If WMP works and people use it, then more power to MS. They put out the OS, so they deserve to have other products that work well with it. And it’s not as if they’re making money on WMP… it’s free for gosh sake.

    As for Real and others on that front, their task should be getting the word out that their product exists and get others to try it. Oh, and their product should be superior too. Otherwise, it is sad that they are using the legal system to make it seem as if Microsoft’s superior marketing strategy is anticompetitive. Sorry, but I just disagree with this. They are also using the suits for free publicity, which I find deplorable.

    Microsoft should have sued Apple for bundling Safari with their OS. Hey, it’s only fair, right?

    As well, the result of the antitrust suits have made it where Microsoft cannot release good products outside of Office. Microsoft has some sharp cookies working in Redmond, so if they wanted to create a good media player (which WMP isn’t all THAT bad) and a good video editor and a good text editor and such, they could easily do so. But then they’d get sued. So in the end, they have to make their bundled software crappy just to allow the little guys to look good enough for people to seek them out.

    I agree with you about Vista on that it is lacking so many things that were promised. However, Vista isn’t that horrible an OS. It should run fine on any machine that runs XP well. As for the graphics requirements, that’s for Glass, which can be turned off. All in all, I like Vista. I have my nits about it, but I also have nits about XP.

    In the end, Microsoft’s biggest problem is that they are on so many computers. If Apple had that market share, they’d be in even deeper hot water because their bundled apps are better.

    To me it’s really sad that people harp on Windows because of its crappy bundled apps, but then turn around and complain if they make them better. There are wonderful alternatives to everything in Windows. But that’s just not the case with OSX, is it? If you have an iPhone or iPod, what’s the good alternative to iTunes? There isn’t one that I know of. And if you want your firmware up-to-date, there is no other way. Now THAT’s anticompetitive.

    There are, unfortunately, no perfect OSes out there. Each has its shortcomings. Each also has its strongsuits. I pretty much use everything, each to its strength (although my Linux box is under the weather right now). It’s too bad that virtual machine technology isn’t to where everyone can use multiple OSes on one machine with ease. Perhaps one day.

    -Mike

  28. manpan says:

    That’s a very good point the problem is for some companies they can’t make their products work with Windows — especially companies with competing server products that need access to Windows protocols but Microsoft it has been argued has deliberately kept certain information about Windows under lock and key they call this trade secrets — but for a dominant company when they are deliberately hiding sensitive information that if released will give others a better chance to compete and be more compatible then the only way to restore competition is to make them release that info — Microsoft claimed to do so to European regulators but the info they published was incomplete or inaccurate — imagine Microsoft publishing 500 pages about Windows protocols that are worthless — they also charge fees to other companies for licensing of the Windows protocols that are too high and unacceptable to competitors who can’t afford the high prices and the antitrust regulators.

    Yes it would harder for Microsoft to innovate today if they really wanted to for the benefit of the consumer but most often when they bundle Windows its just to disadvantage competitors that can’t do the same thing. If WMP is bundled with Windows everyone has one less reason to download a third party media player and more reason to just use Media Player because its in the operating system — Microsoft calls it a feature of the operating system but its just an add-on its software they install on a user’s computer with Windows. Windows does not need Media Player to work — you know Safari comes bundled with Mac OS X but not like IE is with Windows — one can actually delete Safari and the OS will still work because most Apple programs minus QuickTime that are bundled with OS X will work without other bundled programs — I could use another browser besides Safari like Mozilla Firefox and not use Safari at all — I actually use both browsers interchangeably but could choose to use one or the other only.

    Your right though each operating system has some flaws of its own and each has its advantages.

    I too look forward to the day of running multiple OSes on one machine — i.e. natively dual or triple booting from 1 to another on restart etc or running more than 1 OS simultaneously.

    I am beginning to like Mozilla Songbird and they have added compatibility for iPods — I’m sure with each update Apple makes the compatibility might break but am sure as long as Mozilla Songbird is offered if the compatibility breaks they will restore it.

    Microsoft faces a tough sell in the mp3 player market since there are tons of different mp3 players on the market they can’t dominate mp3 players the same way they do Windows it is harder — not only are they competing with Apple iPod but the MS Zune has to compete with a number of other players from Creative, iRiver, Samsung, Toshiba etc and with so many different competitors it provides more consumer choice which is good but for Microsoft makes things a bit harder — not necessarily impossible but harder nonetheless.

    Apple bundling Safari with their OS is a separate issue — they didn’t do it to cause harm to another company — Microsoft deliberately bundled IE with Windows to harm Netscape not because it just wanted to improve Windows — IE was not a feature of Windows but an add-on.

    Over the years IE has become more integrated with Windows making it harder to remove — there was a time when an IE uninstaller was available in Windows to users of Windows 95 and I think Windows 98 had it too — some argued that there was nothing original or innovative about Windows 98 compared to Windows 95 — instead Windows 98 was just a re-branded version of Windows 95 with Internet Explorer bundled — IE was if I am remembering correctly not bundled in Win 95 but I think it was still available back then just as a download — not too sure about that part my memory is not perfect of that time — don’t remember everything but do know some details — however, like I said it was argued Windows 98 was only Windows 95 with IE.

    Microsoft had bundled IE to hurt Netscape not to provide innovation to the operating system — not to improve Windows by adding new features that were needed for the operating system to continue to run — Windows 95 did not require IE to work but since 98 it has become a system requirement for that browser to be installed whether it remains used or unused.

    The Windows market is a huge market — Microsoft does not own the Windows market per se — there are a number of hardware based PC vendors out there — none of them including Microsoft exactly since they don’t make complete PCs — Microsoft tries to control everything that goes into Windows but they don’t control who runs Windows using what hardware configurations etc — no one else can sell Macs other than Apple because no other vendor is licensed by Apple to do so — only Apple computers can then run Mac OS X there is no competition in the Mac market — the Mac if seen as a market in itself is dominated by Apple and no competition is allowed in that area per se — does that make Apple a monopolist for controlling Mac OS X entirely and not allowing competitors in — in much the same way Microsoft is doing with Windows — well the Mac can also be considered as part of the larger PC market in which case its just part of a larger market where there is choice and antitrust against Apple regarding Macs is not an issue.

    Apple started creating their own apps for inclusion with Mac OS at a time when Steve Jobs had just returned to the company and Apple was in trouble no one else would develop more apps for them — so if no one would help save Apple from bankruptcy Apple would save itself — they started making their own apps and bundling them with Mac OS as a broader package to make buying and owning a Mac a more appealing and compelling experience than going for a Windows PC.

    If you buy a new Mac you can get iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie HD, iDVD, iCal, iChat, iWeb, QuickTime Player, Safari, Address Book, and Mail all bundled with your purchase – you buy a Mac and get all these cool additional apps most of which are only available to Mac users — these are quirks — special features Mac users can only have – and are designed to seem really cool and work so well they entice users away from buying that new Windows PC to instead go Mac and get these apps that only Mac users can use.

    PCs cannot run iPhoto, iMovie HD or iDVD. However, Mac has the complete iLife package including Garageband as well. iMovie does a better job it can be argued — well at least iMovie HD can do a better job than Windows Movie Maker — I know the newest version of IMovie has some problems unless your a newbie to making movies — some of the advanced features Mac users have come to love have been taken away.

    Gradually but surely Apple got consumers interested in Macs again — they also made the iPod which became a cultural phenomenon and the next big hit is supposedly the iPhone — Apple has saved itself from the brink of bankruptcy and decided to stick with its new winning strategy — they continue to bundle but seeing how they own the Mac market anyways and its not like they have that big a market share that it affects everyone else they can afford to bundle without causing serious harm.

    Apple’s bundling of Mac IE now had some serious repercussions against Netscape — but remember that was still a Microsoft product made for Apple’s platform and Apple was obligated to bundle it under the 1997 agreement with Microsoft which attempted to cut of Netscape’s air on two fronts the Mac desktop and the Windows desktop — once Netscape no longer worried them they stopped major development of Mac IE without an announcement and Apple needing a browser for the Mac created Safari on their own — Microsoft used that as an excuse to exit the Mac browser market completely saying Apple could do a better job providing Mac users with web browsing technology since they have more access to Mac OS X than Microsoft.

    As mentioned Apple eventually released Safari even for Windows.

    Apple’s bundling of Safari with Mac OS X only had the effect of Microsoft leaving the Mac browser business but they might have done that eventually anyways — they didn’t seem too interested in continuing — they only made Mac IE to thwart Netscape on the Mac and when Netscape was dead they stopped Mac IE to just focus on IE in Windows.

    They introduced the MSN browser and began innovating that but stopped innovating IE for Windows completely although unlike the Mac version they did release new updates to IE for Windows like IE 5.0, IE 6.0 etc but no new innovations between IE 5 and IE 6 that seemed that big a deal. Eventually they copied some opf the innovations in MSN browser back to IE for IE 7 when the second browser war which is now under way began — this time there are more browsers to choose from and will continue to be offered indefinately — I hope so at least — no browser will exit the market they will continue being offered as long as they do good — and no company can force another company’s browser to exit.

    Aside from Microsoft dropping Mac IE Apple’s bundling of Safari with Mac has had very little impact on the overall computer market — bundling it with Mac has not had negative repercussions through the rest of the market — Apple did not bundle to hurt another company but only to continue innovating Mac OS X and make it continue to appear more inviting, innovative, compelling, appealing and/or worthwhile — next time people still running XP will reconsider the upgrade to Vista would they rather go Vista or switch from Windows to Mac and upgrade from Tiger to Leopard.

    Macs can now even run Windows which gives them an advantage over any other PC — Macs can run Windows, Mac OS X and/or Linux while most other PCs can only run Windows and/or Linux or just Windows.

    That is why some time back MacWorld Magazine had an issue with the headline that the Mac was now the Ultimate PC!

    The DRM issues in Windows Vista though are a big concern for me and is why I would avoid it!

  29. manpan says:

    Sorry for the double post but in the first sentence of your last post where you say you don’t know what the problem with Microsoft is — as long as they don’t deliberately code Windows to break other apps which they have done — and you acknowledged that — I do feel that is part of the problem — that is the root cause I was trying to address and on top of that they bundle their apps and design Windows to make their apps work better than others — so if I want to use Real Player or Quick Time with Windows Microsoft deliberately breaks the code so it doesn’t work as well as it should and when I try the bundled Media Player from Microsoft it works perfectly — they bundle what they want their Windows users to use on top of the OS — if you use Windows you don’t necessarily have to run Media Player per se its not illegal to run anything else and they can’t prevent you from installing other software but they can and have coded Windows to make other apps not work as well as Microsoft’s own apps to discourage people from using non Microsoft products.

  30. Michael Swanberg says:

    I feared that remark on my part my may go misunderstood. What I mean is that they SHOULD be slapped on the wrist for making Windows purposely incompatible with others’ products. But just bundling something in with the OS is not, in my opinion, anticompetitive.

    As well, you can’t look at the motivations a company has when judging them as anticompetitive or not. Saying that Apple bundles software to save themselves while Microsoft does it to be anticompetitive is not right, in my opinion. You have to judge what is right or wrong for the consumer here. If it’s good for the goose, then it’s good for the gander.

    IE is indeed a big part of Windows, but that’s because the core IE code is used in everything, from WMP to Explorer to Outlook Express. You may as well make the argument that OSX has Finder built-in and unremovable. Are they therefore anticompetitive?

    All in all, in this day and age, I believe there are certain elements that must be present in an OS as its base. 99.99% of computer users need a way to get to the WWW (how would you go get Firefox if you didn’t have IE?), a way to get to email, and a way to play media files. I believe that these core elements should be included with every OS, period. But I also believe that alternatives should be allowed.

    As for MS’ internal code usage, well, I am on the fence on that one. They wrote the OS, so they should have every right to maintain secrets about it that then give them the advantage on other fronts. If someone doesn’t like it, then they are welcome to write their own OS. But to say that one product makes it difficult for another product to exist is almost silly. Think about it in other terms. Should GM sue the City of New York because the subway system makes it easier for people to not buy cars? Should grocery stores sue restaurants? Should PC hardware manufacturers sue Apple because OSX only runs on Macs? Should the makers of Sendmail sue the Ubuntu folks because they deemed another mail server as better, and thus bundled it in with the OS?

    So yeah, whereas I agree that Microsoft has done some pretty rotten things in their day, I don’t think that they should be slapped down for every little thing.

    In essence, Microsoft won. They elevated their product to the very top of the food chain and no one else has come up with a good alternative. Linux is too difficult for n00bs to configure and there are too many flavors (confuses a lot of people). OSX only runs on the more-expensive Apple hardware.

    All in all, I think the really big problem is that Microsoft has gotten somewhat complacent. No other OS is really threatening them right now. So they have gotten somewhat lazy it seems. But on the other hand, you have to give it to MS because they are supporting a product that they could easily have said, “go screw yourself… Windows is as-is and that’s final.” But no, they are patching flaws and exploits all the time.

    They are also spending considerable resources on making sure that Vista is compatible as much as possible with older software. Apple doesn’t do that, and I have often said that MS should have a new OS altogether, one that leaves the bad things about Windows behind and opens up doors for the next generation of hardware and software innovation. With their marketing clout, they could make it a success, I am confident, and it would eventually replace Windows, just like OSX has all but replaced OS9. It will be a difficult transition, but I feel it will be really necessary in the long run. Unfortunately, though, they won’t do it because they would lose market share initially.

    -Mike

  31. manpan says:

    I just meant that with every new version of Windows Microsoft bundles something else in that seems unnecessary — and the hardware requirements for each new version of Windows are more than the last. Imagine someday Microsoft releasing a new version of Windows in 2050 requiring 500 terabytes of disk space — and a much much faster processor, a much more advanced graphics chip etc because they want people to keep paying to upgrade their hardware just to be able to run all the included apps in future versions of Windows because they take more and more space and need more faster processors for performance to run without a hitch,

    I am almost positive my existing desktop PC tower running Windows XP Professional would not be capable of running Windows Vista flawlessly without major hardware upgrades.

    I don’t mind upgrading my hardware every now and again but upgrading because I’m told to do so to access more features — even if I don’t care about those features but without them the OS won’t work properly is a bit disturbing,

    On the note about Apple bundling Safari with Mac — today they continue to bundle because it works well for them — when they started bundling as I said they faced potential bankruptcy and Jobs had just come back and by making their own apps and bundling them with Mac OS X — they still do so now even though they are doing fine because it has proven to be a successful strategy for them to excite more people to use Macs because of the bundled apps in OS X that are only compatible
    with Macs.

    Now for Apple’s bundling of Safari in Mac that can only be considered a bad thing if said bundling can be proven to have had a negative or adverse effect on competitors.

    Did Apple’s bundling of Safari with Mac discourage other companies from continuing to develop web browsers for the Mac? IE was the main browser but Microsoft even if Apple had not made Safari was no longer showing much interest in updating it for Mac users since Netscape’s defeat — they used Safari though as their excuse to exit Mac browsers.

    Mac users needed a browser to step in IE’s place and Apple felt the best thing to do would be make their own. Apple’s bundling of Safari has not actually prevented other companies from continuing to make browsers for the Mac or discouraged them from doing so. Nothing in the Mac code-base has been adjusted to make competing products incompatible with Apple’s.

    Now Microsoft bundled IE with Windows when they first did intentionally to cause harm to Netscape.

    As for what you said about an operating system needing to have a browser to install other browsers it is worth noting that browser software could be supplied on disc — someone could get IE on CD and install it if they wanted IE and it was not on their computer.

    However, I can see how having a main browser is important.

  32. manpan says:

    Again sorry for the double post but I’d like to add that as I was saying about the bundling issue if it could be proven Apple’s bundling Safari in OS X hurt competitors — it directly prevented others from competing — yes users can still download other programs they don’t need to use the bundled software programs — however, in Microsoft’s case IE bundling was designed to discourage the use of other browsers.

    Why would anyone want to download and use Netscape when they could use IE which comes free with the OS? Yes Netscape is a free download but some users it can be argued are too lazy to download other programs or question what would be the point in using Netscape when IE is already in Windows. I don’t buy that laziness argument but it is a possible theory.

    Apple bundled Safari not to disadvantage makers of other Mac web browsers — and has not tweaked the protocols to deliberately make competing programs buggy in OS X — they have not tampered with the ability of other programs to run in OS X that compete with Apple;s own offerings nor have they bundled to hurt competition — in both cases Microsoft has though sought to deliberately code Windows to break compatibility of other programs and bundle their apps to encourage users to adopt Microsoft products and discourage them from using anything else.

    Microsoft has sought to protect their Applications Barrier To Entry in Windows with the bundling and code tweaking they have done — because of code tweaking they are being ordered to disclose information about the code changes to enable competitors to re-tweak their products so they do work in Windows — and Microsoft is being ordered in Europe to offer an unbundled version of Windows that has not sold too well because there aren’t any incentives to promote N branded versions of Windows over the fully bundled Windows.

    WIndows XP N sells at the same retail price as Windows XP in Europe with Media Player — consumers have shown a lack of interest in buying it at retail and manufacturers or PC vendors have shown little interest in offering it pre-installed on their computers being sold.

    It is possible if Windows XP N were being sold cheaper than bundled Windows that might be more appealing then to consumers than bundled Windows if promoted and marketed better — Microsoft does not want Windows XP N and/or Vista N to do well though.

    Nothing required them to promote Windows N branded versions on equal footing as the bundled versions — or to sell it cheaper etc.

    So both are sold the same and bundled Windows seems to sell better.

    Apple did not bundle OS X to do serious irreparable harm to competitors to discourage or prevent them from competing — nor have they made OS X deliberately buggy when using competing programs although it has been argued Microsoft has done these things deliberately to harm competition.

    The Mac needed a default web browser and IE for Mac which had been the default browser had not been updated in a while — Apple thus introduced Safari to replace the lagging IE for Mac. Microsoft had not updated IE for Mac since Netscape’s browser business had originally crashed and burned — or in other words the Netscape browser folded.

    So Apple needed a replacement browser and provided one on its own and it was so good Microsoft just quit the Mac browser market. Apple eventually ported Safari to Windows.

    I agree about certain features being required in an OS for it work today that were unnecessary earlier but even Apple when they bundled Safari with Mac it is not as tightly integrated with OS X as IE is to WIndows and that’s a good thing — if there is a problem with Safari on the Mac the Mac OS will still work fine but on Windows if IE is buggy chances are the overall operating system will have trouble.

  33. Michael Swanberg says:

    I’m not sure you’re seeing what I am saying. But you may be correct anyway (I am not an expert on anticompetition legislation).

    But what I was saying was that the motive behind an action cannot be used in determining the legality. The penalty, maybe, but not the legality.

    For instance, person A kills person B and says he did it because he was mad. Person C kills person D and says he did it because it was fun. Should A or C be let off the hook? But sure, there are such things as crimes of passion and aggravated assault. So maybe you have a point.

    The reality of it is, in my eyes anyway, that Microsoft gets slapped because it’s big and has deep pockets. Apple, however, is left alone because the pockets aren’t as deep and they have a small market share. That doesn’t seem fair.

    And as far as the web browsers, I don’t find Safari to be any better than IE7. In the end, they both take you to the WWW and render html pages. IE7 is more standards-compliant (or probably standards-dictative) and has VBScript/ASP built-in (so it can render, and is thus more compatible with, more pages).

    There can be much debate over the browsers in regards to their security, but in the end, the relative security of an application depends on several factors, and can be subjective to each user. First, the user herself must tailor the application to be as secure as necessary. Second, the application needs to have as few holes as possible, with respect to exploits. So what I am saying is that Safari might have tons of exploitable holes, but if no one writes attacks for them, then it’s secure.

    As well, you can take a completely unpatched IE and if all you do is go to GMail, then you’re probably 100% safe. But a fully-patched or assumed-bullet-proof Safari might get hacked if you visit pr0n and pirate sites all day.

    Need I point out, Mr. Security Now, Steve Gibson, uses IE?

    I agree with your last point about the bugginess of a tightly-integrated piece of code. But that a) could go both ways, and b) could apply to anything. Every application must at some point interface with the graphics driver (unless it runs invisibly). If the graphics driver is faulty, then the whole computer will be unstable, regardless of what you use it for.

    OTOH, tightly integrating some aspects of an OS can also be a good thing. If the code is solid, then that permeates the entire experience. It can also avoid other issues. For instance, if the disk access routines were portioned out so that any or all of them could be removed, then you may have multiple pieces of code fighting for the drives and it will result in a slow or stopped system. But by keeping all that in one place, it makes things better.

    It’s the age-old programming dilemma. Making common routines is bad if the routines are bad, but good if the routines are good. There can also be the danger of breaking calling routines if a common routine is altered. However, separating the routines out could increase workload and code-bloat if a common change is required across all the similar routines.

    -Mike

  34. manpan says:

    Mike,

    You make a valid point on the antitrust issues. My beef with IE is its insecurity, stability issues. Yes Safari comes bundled with Mac OS X as IE is with Windows but Safari can be more easily deleted than IE. IE is sometimes a memory hog if a Windows PC runs slowly Internet Explorer is likely to blame. Microsoft just patched a critical flaw in IE 7 regarding URI’s or Uniform Resource Indicators — that also affected Mozilla Firefox but they patched their browser sooner.

    There was very little innovation between IE 5 and IE 6 because Microsoft felt they had no need to provide such innovations when the browser war was over — yes the browser war has restarted lately and because of it Microsoft has resumed innovating IE with the release of IE 7 adding needed features like tabbed browsing and popup blocking that other browsers have had for a while. Microsoft when they stopped innovating IE originally made the MSN browser and started adding new features to the MSN browser while ignoring IE.

    Now Microsoft has resumed innovating IE after how many years? Its been like 6 or 7 years since IE had any real significant updates.

    Microsoft even during the U.S. antitrust case argued the same thing that IE is a crucial part of Windows — a feature that is needed for the rest of the operating system to work. A company called Lite PC (www.litepc.com) have made a series of products to help consumers regain control of their computers.

    XPLite and 2000 Lite v. 1.9 is marketed as Windows your way.

    They are powerful configuration tools for establishing a modular version of Windows where you control what software gets installed on the system and not Microsoft. 98Lite another product they make enables users to speed up performance of their computers running Windows 98 by removing Internet Explorer completely from their computers and upon erasing and deleting the IE files it installs the files used for Windows 95 Explorer in place of the IE files on Windows 98. You get to keep the Windows 98 operating system but without Internet Explorer.

    Remember the original Windows 98 and Windows 95 are exactly the same except one has IE bundled in it and the other doesn’t. Later operating systems have had more middleware products by Microsoft bundled with it and some changes to the system — going from Windows Fat32 system in Win 98 to NTFS for Windows NT, 2000, etc and the design changes in XP are worth mentioning.

    It has been said before by some harsh Microsoft critics and I agree with them the only innovative thing Microsoft has ever provided Windows users is the Start bar. Nothing else is very unique. They keep trying to copy Apple’s innovations into their own operating system and bundle Microsoft applications with Windows to discourage middleware programs from third parites from succeeding in making any progress.

    Steve Jobs once said he ” I have no problem with Microsoft’s success. They earned their success but the problem is they have no taste.”

    Not all of Microsoft’s success was earned fairly. Microsoft asked Apple for a license to some elements in the Macintosh Operating System for use in Windows but Apple refused to license it to Microsoft (buy the way Apple bought its original underlying technology from Xerox fair and square but then made some improvements to it on their own) and Microsoft using blackmail threatened to discontinue Office for Mac if Apple didn’t give them a license. Microsoft was even then the largest developer of Mac software outside Apple and if Apple didn’t oblige it could harm their business. Apple was forced into licensing certain elements to Microsoft for Windows and when they sued Microsoft for stealing their copyrighted technology because of Apple’s lack of actual patents — a patent apparently is stronger than a copyright and the fact that Microsoft was licensed the technology by Apple the case by Apple against Microsoft was dismissed. Apple lost its court case against Microsoft.

    Originally Word Perfect was dominant but Microsoft continued to use unscrupulous business practices in pushing Office to the masses and took over the market. Today most people use MS Office whether on Mac or Windows.

    Here’s an interesting scenario — you asked what if person A killed person B and said he did it because he was mad. Then person C kills person D because it was fun. Should A or C be let off the hook? But sure, there are such things as crimes of passion and aggravated assault. That’s where you agreed that I may have a point — even if we have some disagreement.

    Now lets say person A killed person B because if he didn’t person B would have killed person A and person C. Its a self defense thing. Ever watch sci-fi? There is a show called Kyle XY on ABC Family and in season 1 — lets say person A killed person B because B was going to kill C – and B insisted A was ordered to kill C but since A did not do it B was also going to kill A for protecting C. Lets also say that B accused A of betraying the organization they worked for but A accused B of betraying a friend who started that organization but was forced out of it.

    So both A and B are accusing each of other being traitors and A killed B because he had no choice — B would have killed if not stopped is it still right for A to kill B if B would have killed both A and C? I wonder how something like this would play out in the marketplace.

    What if company a killed company b because company b would have killed company c which company a was trying to protect and company a also had to protect itself from b.

    I know there are some people who still like to use IE but I don’t. One of my biggest complaints with IE 7 is that it makes it harder to find more advanced features. Advanced settings are harder to find in IE 7. IE 6 and lower were easier to locate the settings but IE 7 is harder to access some if not all settings.

    I am also wary of using the MSN browser. If I do it would be MSN 7 because MSN 8 and above require a paid membership to MSN where you pay the monthly subscription dues. I don’t want to pay Microsoft to use my web browser, or to access the Internet the way Microsoft wants me to. Right now Free Press.Net is running a number of campaigns to help protect the free flow of information on the Internet via their Save The Internet campaign to stop cable and phone companies from becoming gatekeepers and charging for access to certain websites. Neither the telecom companies nor the cable companies should be able to censor our email, our text messages, phone calls etc.

    Their campaign is located at http://www.savetheinternet.com. Also it is worth noting that they have a Free the iPhone campaign to insist that the iPhone and cellular phones in general be freed of exclusive wireless lock-ins by the carriers. You should be able to use any phone on any network and keep or change your phone number as you please even when changing phones.

    Google is even a supporter of wholesale open access on cellphones. It is good for consumers and good for Google’s business. Google so far still seems like a nice company some are concerned about their buyout of Double-Click but I doubt there are antitrust ramifications in it. Only concerns I have regarding Google are privacy issues as they save information about users searches etc.

    Some might prefer IE and/or its companion web browser MSN and would be willing to use it even if compelled to pay monthly service fees to Microsoft for accessing the Internet with broadband connections or dialup. I avoid IE often like the plague and only use it when I have to use Windows Update. Even then I make sure to not install any updates for XP that add DRM to my system. Once I accidentally did and when I found out I was able to delete it. Thank goodness! Microsoft is trying to deliver DRM to XP users via software updates meanwhile Vista already ships with DRM.

    Windows Media Center is nice that it has lots of cool features that Apple Front Row sadly lacks. However, Media Center remotes also have so many confusing buttons and could work better. Apple provides a simple more elegant user experience. Steve Jobs made fun of Media Center remotes when releasing Front Row saying that the Apple Remote for Front Row only has 8 buttons.

    While I miss a TV Tuner in Macintosh that is standard by Apple and ability to record using Front Row I’m glad the interface is easier to navigate and manage often. Also it seems Apple does not add TV Tuner capabilities because they want users to buy video like music from the iTunes Store rather than recording it for free.

    Third party TV Tuners though can be purchased for Macs that work with OS X but they are USB based. I once had a USB based AverMedia TV Tuner for my Windows PC and the video captures were in poor quality and did not work with VirtualDub — a very good recording and editing program I use in Windows on my PC.

    I now use an ATI TV Wonder VE — a TV Tuner capture card that is installed on the inside of the computer. It records much better. So I wonder how likely would it be for a Mac USB TV Tuner to record as good as the ATI Wonder VE or poorly like the USB based AverMedia tuner I had.

    I make it a point now to even boycott Sony — they use DRM that is bad for consumers in Blu Ray. Remember their music business Sony BMG a few years back sold music CDs with rootkits. It was disastrous for their reputation. Bad PR certainly for Sony which faced a class action lawsuit. They eventually made a settlement and stopped distributing the CDs. They agreed to offer tools to help remove the viruses the CDs installed on PCs and only offer DRM free music CDs in future.

    I am wary of Sony Pictures and Sony Electronics use of DRM technology. I avoid the PS3 also like it is a plague because of Blu Ray’s DRM they have no care for the customer — they only care about maximizing profits and I avoid PSP for same reason. Too proprietary and use copy protection. I read an article that said the real winner in the HD disc format wars is Piracy TM. Consumers will continue to turn to Piracy because the movie companies refused to trust customersn without DRM and insist on treating customers like criminals.

    Legit customers who would never have committed piracy otherwise will turn to it. DRM will not stop piracy from happening it will only alienate customers that legally acquire content. DRM only spreads piracy. People that want to pirate will continue to find ways to do so and rely on other sources — use peer to peer file-sharing networks to download content freely and without DRM. The hard core pirates will just continue pirating and ignore DRMed content.

    I’m also boycotting AT&T the former Ma Bell telephone monopoly that has re-established itself as just that in recent years since they were broken up in the 1980s and now in the 200s they have re-merged. They have collaborated with the NSA on illegally spying on American communications — attempted to censor content on the Internet and so I don’t support them.

    I’m beginning to get concerned about Apple becoming too monolithic eventually — that is the autonomy or hegemony of iTunes becoming so great Apple does monopolize too much and one day faces a big antitrust case against it too.

    At the moment I still like and respect Apple but if they get too powerful and misabuse that power too frequently it will harm their reputation to some extent even further than it may have been harmed at present with current lawsuits against them but if they got as much negative attention as Microsoft someday they would lose a lot of support and popularity.

    The fact that most game companies code for games in DirectX on Windows and not the open source OpenGL makes it harder to port games to other platforms but benefits Microsoft’s operating system monopoly in an unfair way. Games when ported to other platforms have to have their graphics code re-coded for OpenGL in addition to making the APIs for the other platforms. Mac gaming has improved since Apple switched to Intel and released Boot Camp now Windows games can run on Macs running Windows and Apple is also encouraging game companies to make more games designed for OS X.

    However, the issue of OpenGL and DirectX remains as a hardblock along the way. XBox and XBox 360 use DirectX also and Microsoft sells them because every new video game console sold equals one less reason for consumers to buy new computers running Windows.

    Just my 2 cents

  35. manpan says:

    Sorry for the double post but in a recent article I read via the following link http://www.techcrunch.com/2007/09/17/tc40-keynote-speakers-humble-beginnings/ a few visionaries including David Filo, from Yahoo (YHOO!), Chad Hurley, Marc Andressen who helped create the Netscape web browser and the company itself (during the first browser war) with the help of another gentleman named Jim Clark were asked who did they admire most outside of their own companies and all the men said Steve Jobs.

    That was certainly interesting! Jobs has contributed a lot to the industry so I’d have to agree I do admire him also. The only other obvious choice would have been to say Bill Gates but he hasn’t really contributed anything worthwhile at least lately if not all or ever — this can be debatable — but as mentioned Microsoft just copied Apple technologies into Windows beyond the guesswork Microsoft has done — and even when they copy Apple they are never able to make Windows as good as the original — so its better to just have a Macintosh. If someone needs Windows and can’t leave it that’s understandable just don’t upgrade to a newer version of Windows. Say no more and avoid Vista.

    There are too many issues in Vista of device driver problems etc and most software that is Vista compatible will certainly be backwards compatible with XP, 2000 and maybe even 98. It just says made for Vista because Microsoft requires all products that are now released for Windows with Vista compatibility to promote Vista.

    Its against the rules or Microsoft’s rules to say the software will work with older versions of Microsoft’s operating system.

  36. manpan says:

    Again sorry this time for the triple post but something just occurred to me I felt was worth mentioning and think its odd Microsoft has not attempted to do this at least in the U.S. First off Microsoft in trying to compete with the iTunes juggernaut used its Plays for Sure DRM to belittle the autonomy or hegemony of Apple’s iTunes software and the iTunes Store along with their overall iPod business. The problem was not that their partners making the devices used bad hardware far from it it is most likely that Microsoft’s work in the software front was not that good. Apple provided a great music player and a software program to accompany it.

    iPod is successful because of the ease of use it has in working with iTunes. Using Windows Media Player with a Toshiba Gigabeat, a Creative Zen, an iRiver or other mp3 player was not as great as using iPod with iTunes. These other companies relied on Microsoft for the software and depending on Microsoft to create a universal system for all devices to work in Windows did not go over that well in dethroning iPod because Microsoft made the software not as good as it could be to take on iTunes.

    Finally Microsoft decided to make their own mp3 player thus alienating their own partners — first they work with partners and then tell their partners to take a hike — the other legal music download stores/services like the relaunched Napster still use Plays for sure but Microsoft is now focused on Zune and made a completely new software program for Zune players.

    The Zune software is written just as bad as WMP or even worse. There is clearly a lot of room for improvement. Until they get their act together there is no way Zune can pose a challenge to iPod. The only players Zune faces major competition from is from Microsoft’s old partners and even among those players Zune ranks lower than some other mp3 players.

    If I had to choose between a Zune, a Toshiba Gigabeat or a Creative Zen I would choose the latter and go for the Gigabeat or the Zen. If I had to choose between Zune or iPod I would go iPod.

    I think its odd that Microsoft has not attempted to bundle the Zune software in Windows Vista. At least I don’t think they haven’t done so. If Microsoft ever makes a cellphone of their own for Zune users they will just be further alienating their own partners including third party companies — manufacturers or handset makers of cellular phones that sell phones bundled with Windows Mobile — the mobile version of Microsoft’s Windows operating system which has gone through various name changes like Pocket-PC, Windows CE, Windows CE.Net etc.

    This further ruins their reputation among other businesses — prospective partners will be concerned that why should we work with Microsoft if they just ditch us in future? What if they want to work with us just to get access to our technology and steal it for use in their own products? Microsoft has a credibility problem and an issue of trust they need to resolve. No outside company will trust them if they promise to work with them but then turn their backs on them.

    Steve Balmer said there is no way the iPhone will get any significant market share. Microsoft just licenses its OS for mobile use to phone makers and so Windows is everywhere on several cell phones regardless of which phone has more market share they can still benefit as long as the phone runs Windows Mobile. Windows Mobile is available on different phones that work with different service providers so your not locked into one specific carrier if you choose a Windows Mobile phone. There are plenty of Windows Mobile phones on the market but there is only 1 iPhone that requires AT&T — yes it can be hacked but legitimately only AT&T can work with it.

    According to Balmer the iPhone will sell moderately well and get Apple some profits but not extremely high — they won’t get a lot of market share though. Whether or not that’s the case and I hope it does get somewhat more market share than he expects — maybe not a lot more than he expects but somewhat more prompting Microsoft to enter the phone market itself with its own hardware to go head to head with iPhone even if they have to compete with other Windows Mobile phone makers.

    Microsoft claims to work better with partners but in a way that’s a joke. Yes Apple is proprietary perhaps even more than Microsoft but Microsoft is proprietary too.

    Apple does work with partners though sometimes. A strong point Apple has is they feel they don’t have to do everything although Microsoft does. So far you don’t see Apple selling video games consoles in addition to their iPod mp3 players and iPhones — yes they do sell Apple TV but that’s not exactly a game console its a media extender only — XBox 360 incorporates a game console and media extender. Apple does not do everything Microsoft does while Microsoft tries to do a lot more.

    Apple relies more on its partners in some areas and when it decides to work with partners it does not later turn its back on them to go solo. Either they do solo work originally and stick to the solo approach for a particular project for the long haul or work with partners for the long haul and not turn their back on them. Microsoft works with partners as long as they like and then turns its back on the very partners they worked with to establish independent projects like Zune.

    Music purchased and downloaded from stores/services that use the Plays for Sure DRM does not even work with Microsoft’s Zune. With Zune Microsoft is attempting to use the same approach as Apple but has not designed its Zune software as well as it should.

    I know in Europe even if they offered a bundled version of Windows with Zune software according to the decision by the Court of First Instance they would be required to still offer a stripped down version without the Zune software. I wonder why they made a new program for Zune and did not integrate the Zune store with Windows Media Player.

    That’s 2 pieces of software that at least to me are currently worthless. I don’t need either program. I prefer QuickTime + iTunes and VLC Media Player whether I’m using Mac OS X or Windows.

  37. manpan says:

    Mike,

    I was hoping you would have replied by now to my last 3 posts I just wanted to mention that Microsoft had tried to kill Apple’s QuickTime on Windows even after the 1997 agreement had been made because they did NOT WANT ANYONE ELSE TO CONTROL MEDIA PLAYBACK ON WINDOWS. Microsoft was only concerned with media playback and QuickTime bypassed some of Microsoft’s graphics technology engines and provided for a smoother and nicer looking experience for media playback. Videos in QuickTime would work better than Video for Windows. Compaq at one time while it was still independent chose to bundle QuickTime with its machines running Windows but Microsoft threatened Compaq to not do so and so they didn’t.

    See Microsoft’s Plot To Kill QuickTime: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/5F0C866C-6DDF-4A9A-9515-531B0CA0C29C.html

    MS had no interest in the content authoring business but threatened to enter it if Apple did not exit the media playback market. The same way they saw Real Networks as a threat in media streaming they saw Apple as a threat in media playback.

    They also sought to harm Apple’s QuickTime business and almost succeeded in ruining QuickTime as an authoring business — see How Microsoft Drove QuickTime’s Final Cut: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/8AA115DC-2398-456E-9319-FE5842A41BD1.html

    MS even threatened Sun’s Java for the same reasons they did Netscape, Apple and RealNetworks because of its cross platform compatibility meaning it does not need Windows to run. Apple was one of few companies that survived and won when MS tried to kill an area of its business.

    They are now trying to target Google but so far have been unsuccessful in dethroning it! They can’t ruin Google’s business the way they did earlier businesses.

  38. Michael Swanberg says:

    Truth is, I’ve been pretty busy lately. Just started a new job a few weeks ago.

    But it is obvious that you spend a lot of time researching this. Way more than I have.

    All in all, I do not appreciate the way Microsoft does most of its business. If you can’t beat ‘em, buy ‘em, seems to be their motto. And it is true that much of their packaged software isn’t the best it could be.

    But I also don’t think that Microsoft is the evil empire that many make it out to be. And they’re also not that bad in the software market. I rarely hear anyone complain about Office other than the price. And the alternatives rarely have anything over Office (except the price). Even the Open Source champions don’t yell so loudly when trying to sell Open Office over MS Office. And Office is the standard by which all other such suites are compared.

    And say what you will, Windows has been a very successful product. And considering the nearly-unlimited number of hardware configurations that could exist, I think Windows has done pretty well. It’s really a miracle that any of our computers work at all.

    One thing about Microsoft that does irk me, though, is their me-too attitude. Any time someone does something successful, Microsoft has to try to jump on the bandwagon. I believe that has gone a long way to tarnish their reputation. They rarely innovate anymore, which is sad, because they have some sharp people in Redmond. They just need someone to give them novel ideas.

    As for Quicktime, I’ve always thought it was horrible on Windows. It’s fine on OSX, but I find it much less stable on a Windows machine (ditto iTunes). I also dislike the way the $30 fee to totally unlock Quicktime isn’t for both platforms. It also has to be paid again if a major release comes out. In any case, a $30 video editor is pretty cheap overall.

    I am not sure what you mean by “MS had no interest in the content authoring business.” Do you not count the Zune Marketplace? I guess I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “content authoring.”

    -Mike

  39. manpan says:

    By content authoring I meant that Apple has and continues to have content authoring tools for its QuickTime platform — think of the tools for creating content in QuickTime when you have QT Pro configured or products like Final Cut Pro, Final Cut Express, Final Cut Studio etc.

    Microsoft was not interested in entering the content authoring business to compete with Apple’s QuickTime in this field but threatened to do so if Apple did not give up on QuickTime for Windows — either Apple could continue to offer it but using a specification by Microsoft or not participate in that market at all.

    Zune Marketplace is an online store/downloadable service like the iTunes Music Store for purchasing and acquiring content whether music or video digitally.

    The business of providing tools to create media is the market I refer to when I talk of content authoring.

    The articles from my last post on Microsoft’s plot to kill QuickTime describe how QuickTime had been such a successful media player and how Microsoft tried to sabotage it.

    Microsoft either buys up its competition or forces them out of business. MS never bought Real Networks, Netscape, Sun or any of those other companies that it saw as a threat to Windows monopoly. They never bought Corel, Adobe or Novell either to gain Word Perfect or Flash but they bought Web TV because they felt the network computer was a threat to Windows.

    Some say Web TV was bad anyways before MS bought it but MS made it worse. They deliberately bought it because it was a threat to their business.

    Don’t forget Microsoft once collaborated with IBM even to supply their OS for IBM PCs so IBM could drive Apple off the market but then Microsoft changed its mind about working with IBM but had already given IBM a license which they were allowed to still keep for Windows but MS refused to support IBM’s OS 2 — and MS (according to another article I read which I don’t have the link for MS was called Darth Microsoft and IBM as the Emperor) decided it didn’t need Emperor IBM.

    From what I read QuickTime was originally a great program — it still in my opinion is good the only thing annoying is the qttask.exe file in Windows that has to be in the system tray and is running in the background like a memory hog taking up space that is unneeded.

    QuickTime may have its faults some of which could be caused because of Microsoft — Apple had bypassed Microsoft’s graphics engine for QuickTime which was why MS was worried about QuickTime — they wanted to control media playback in Windows not wanting middleware like QuickTime to be successful on their own merits.

    If QuickTime remained successful it would have to use technology made by Microsoft for its graphics. That is Apple would have to use the graphics system MS made and not be allowed to bypass it with a better system.

    iTunes has its own annoying faults sometimes the iTunes Helper.exe file, and iPod Service.exe — lets say for iTunes users who don’t have iPods or who may have one but aren’t using it why do these files have to run in the background anyways? Overall though they seem like great apps and QuickTime is the best player there is for playing MOV files.

    Today when using a third party program I prefer VLC Media Player on either OS X or Windows but I still rely on QuickTime Player on both Mac and Windows for certain things like watching QT Movies being streamed from the web — when I watch a QT Movie on the web I need a QT browser plugin for the video to play and that comes with QT Player.

    I do think that it would be nice if for once they actually tried to innovate and by that I mean not copy Apple or any other company — when I say innovate I don’t mean make a new version of Windows where the only thing innovative is a new Start Menu — that has been the only major innovation in Windows since Windows got a graphical desktop — via the release of Windows 95 and all operating systems by Microsoft afterwards have had it but some tweaks have been made.

    Windows 95 to Windows 98 only change was addition of IE to the OS — by XP they redesigned the Start Menu though which was first introduced in 95 and now used in all later OS revisions like 98, ME, NT, 2000, XP and now Vista.

    They need to make drastic and by that I mean major revisions a complete overhaul of the OS. Dump the trialware based software from Windows computers — no more bundled apps that are unnecessary — they already have IE and WMP and Windows Messenger included no more bundling of other apps — MS calls these features of the OS but they’re not they are just third party apps by MS bundled with the OS. MS’s own middleware designed to discourage outsiders from making their middleware succeed.

    If a day comes where Micro$oft innovates and shows that it cares about the customer and not just about profit — forget the greed factor and the corruption and the insistence to dominate everything — I’ve never used XBox because MS wants to control video games not for profits but because each console sold = one less reason to buy a new Windows PC or a new PC at all — MS thinks of the Windows PC revenue in this case.

    Windows is already dominant OS for games why let MS have dominant game console also?!!! I like hi-def graphics but am not getting PS3 or XBox 360 because of DRM or copy protection they use with HD DVD, Blu Ray etc — 360 is better that it doesn’t force HD DVD its optional to get it with or without but Sony forces Blu Ray on users which I don’t need.

    For now I just use a gameplay friendly console the Nintendo Wii. Hopefully I’ll update later to a better console for graphics if things change for the better as far as DRM goes for the consumer.

    Hi def without DRM that’s what it is better!

    Apple is facing its own problems now but is trying to make customers happy — amid complaints that they don’t offer third party application development for iPhone and iPod Touch they are going to offer an SDK that works with both devices next year for making apps for the actual device up till now only web apps have been allowed for security reasons — Apple is blocking third party apps that were installed via hacks on the devices but will legitimately allow 3rd party apps soon laying to rest complaints on this issue.

    Zune Marketplace again has nothing to do with content authoring and what I said about MS threatening Apple to enter content authoring if Apple did not give up QuickTime for Windows was before the Zune’s time or even before iTunes and the iPod existed.

    Zune Marketplace is a downloadable online store/service for downloading and purchasing content digitally. It could be music, music videos, TV shows, movies, games etc whatever is offered. In iTunes case it offers all that and ringtones.

    Apple only offers 1 store for downloadable content via iTunes but MS has 2 with XBox Live Marketplace also so would they have to sell video on 2 different stores — buy a TV show from Zune Marketplace and will only work with Zune as for XBox have to buy again via XBox Live Marketplace for XBox.

    XBox 360 is number 2 console now behind Wii and PS3 is dead last.

    Windows has only been successful because no other alternative as good as it has come a long that is licensable and works with different hardware. Yes Linux is there but on the desktop is not quite there yet — not ready for average users — although Ubuntu is trying to make it prime time — also there are too many distributions of Linux that its confusing for some to pick the proper one.

    Mac OS X could probably give Windows a run for its money if Apple licensed it — of course they tried this earlier but failed — that however was because they didn’t continue innovating the product — the marketing group took over — and things were screwed up badly when Jobs returned.

    Michael Dell has even expressed interest in carrying OS X if it were opened to other hardware — this from the same man who said in 1997 he’d shut Apple down and give money back to shareholders. His words have now come back to haunt him. He’s basically had to eat his words. Dell is now struggling in the computer business and Michael Dell its founder is trying to fix things. Steve Jobs since returning to Apple though has fixed the company and its doing great.

    There is only 1 OS X and only 1 Windows distributor(s) they are Apple and Microsoft.

    OS X only lacks financial software and games — if it got more of those 2 and was made available on other types of hardware although it would be tricky to maintain stability — it still uses a stable platform with underlying UNIX technology — that is the software void was also filled it could give MS a real run for its money. However, the fact that Apple lacks in those areas it does not cater well to business users in the enterprise at present and while its trying to bring in more gamers to its machines and its operating system it has not yet gotten them to match the type of distribution of games or financial software Windows has.

    Windows has certain types of software Mac OS lacks and if it got all that and worked with other hardware it could challenge MS. Apple has chosen to keep OS X closed though to its hardware they don’t care about being the dominant OS they just want the Mac’s market share to increase now and again.

  40. Michael Swanberg says:

    Wow, lot’s to take in here.

    First, I think you’re mistaken about MS staying out of content authoring. XP and Vista both come with Windows MovieMaker. Sure, it’s horrible, but it’s there, and it writes almost exclusively to MS’ .wmv format. And it doesn’t cost $30 like QuickTime does to create content.

    For QuickTime and iTunes, those background processes can be turned off. But I agree that they’re not good. I bought my first Mac for 2 things: Automator and iTunes. iTunes is horribly unstable in Windows. Ditto Quicktime.

    I have VLC on my Macs too, but I rarely use it. QuickTime does most everything I need it to (once I installed the Divx codec).

    As for DRM on Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, that’s the content Nazis that are forcing that. That has nothing whatsoever to do with XBox360 unless you buy the HD-DVD expansion drive. Personally, I am boycotting all high-def content as long as it’s locked down by restrictive DRM. I don’t mind some DRM, because it stops casual piracy and sends the message that they do care about copyright laws. But when DRM gets restrictive to the point that it makes legitimate users HAVE to become pirates just to see what they already paid for, that is when I head for the door.

    I said it before and I’ll say it again… if OSX gets opened to a large number of hardware platforms, we’ll see it crash and burn as an OS. It will be unstable and unable to keep up with the demands of the market. Windows has done an excellent job of this, but even still has many many problems.

    There have been whispers of Microsoft starting its own line of PC platforms. I think this is an excellent idea because they can use those platforms for extensive testing. As such, consumers can be sure that if they have a Microsoft PC, then the software and the patches have all been thoroughly tested and work near-flawlessly.

    It will also serve to remove some confusion as to what is usable and what is not. By that I mean that when there is a minimum hardware spec for software on a Mac, it is very easy to understand if your system can handle it or not. This is so because there are only a handful of hardware platforms out there. But for Windows, one has to be a hardcore geek to put together all the minimum specs and know whether or not his rig can handle it.

    As for bundled software with OSes, I disagree. No one complains about iLife for 2 reasons: it’s good and it doesn’t force people out of business. Microsoft’s bundeld apps aren’t very good, for one, and the litigious software vendors out there constantly complain that anything that Microsoft does is anticompetitive.

    At the very minimum, I feel that Microsoft should make their offerings better. A lot better. And then either sell them or make them available as downloads, instead of automatically bundled). After all, I would wager that very few Windows users (including all the business users) need MovieMaker or Paint.

    -Mike

  41. manpan says:

    Mike,

    I’m saying that Microsoft originally did not want to ENTER THE CONTENT AUTHORING MARKET BUT THREATENED APPLE THEY WOULD IF Apple did not give up on QuickTime for Windows — they did not even see content authoring as a market worth entering but when Apple refused to cave into Microsoft’s demands regarding QuickTime then Microsoft entered the market.

    Check the article I linked to Microsoft’s Plot To Kill QuickTime in one of my earlier posts. Microsoft at one time tried to steal code from QuickTime for its Video for Windows after Apple agreed to license the code to them. In a court case against Microsoft Apple won an injunction against the Redmond software giant barring them from distributing the stolen code and the case was resolved with the 1997 agreement.

    Yes today Microsoft is IN THE CONTENT AUTHORING BUSINESS — THEY HAD ENTERED IT ORIGINALLY ONLY BECAUSE APPLE REFUSED TO GIVE UP on QuickTime for Windows and today offer products like Windows Movie Maker in XP and Vista.

    I’ve always like iMovie better than Movie Maker that is until iMovie 08 shipped. I prefer iMovie 06 or iMovie HD better because the new version of iMovie has less features. Apple deliberately stripped the new iMovie of key features iMovie users have been using for years.

    I think one area where there is disagreement between us certainly is that Mac OS X if licensed would crash and burn. Yes part of the reason OS X is so stable is that its limited to running only on one type of hardware by Apple — it would be harder for them somewhat to maintain OS X’s stability if released for other computer hardware BUT DON’T FORGET OS X IS UNIX and EVEN WITH THE PROBLEMS OF MANAGING IT ON OTHER HARDWARE OS X WOULD NOT BE A FAILURE ON OTHER HARDWARE.

    I’m sure if Apple kept innovating and licensed OS X it could give Windows a run for its money — if only they could get more software to run on Mac OS X than is available.

    That is to get financial software and more games for Mac than are available to OS X users. OS X on standard x86 Intel and AMD based PCs would not crash and burn. They might not completely overturn Windows dominance but Apple could make inroads in the business market with Mac OS X and grow its market share big enough to challenge Windows.

    You know how Linux is supposed to a good alternative to Windows but so far on the desktop needs lots of improvement — depends on who you ask though — not very many average users are switching from WIndows to Linux.

    Everyone thinks Windows because it can run on all types of hardware is the only consumer friendly OS — it provides choices for users — some say other OSes are too restrictive and all like OS X locked to Apple hardware and Windows is everywhere so its consumer friendly but its the only operating system located everywhere — if only a good alternative would come to Windows on the desktop be it OS X or Linux even a better operating system that can run on all types of hardware and is consumer friendly enough — without the confusion of Linux (one problem is there are too many flavors of Linux — more choice is good but too many choices is confusing with all the distributions its hard to tell which distro to go with in the Linux world) would pose a serious challenge to Windows.

    I NEVER WANT TO USE WINDOWS VISTA EVEN WHEN THEY RELEASE SP1 AND SP2 I WON’T USE IT this is because I DO NOT AGREE WITH THEIR END USER LICENSE AGREEMENT.

    I’d only use Windows when forced to do so to run certain software unavailable to OS X or Linux etc.

    OS X if opened WILL FACE THE SAME ISSUES TO SOME EXTENT AS WINDOWS BUT BECAUSE OF ITS UNIX CORE WILL STILL BE A BETTER OFFERING!

    I prefer XviD over Divx but when using my Mac am required to use Divx codec for audio. Why can’t XviD video codec handle video and audio playback? Why can’t I use a separate audio codec and video codec other than Divx and have my video play correctly — I’ve tried this and without Divx there are problems so I installed it — it seems videos won’t work without Divx.

    As for gaming your right ON THE XBOX 360 HD DVD THING I’m glad MS at least offers 360s with and without the drive.

    If I bought one I’d probably get one without at present and later buy one if I felt I needed one as an upgrade.

    AT PRESENT I DON’T EVEN OWN A HI-DEF TV! So HD DVD and Blu Ray are completely unnecessary for me.

    I still don’t like XBox because its from MS they just want to own the console market because each new console sold = 1 less reason for the sale of a new PC (in their minds that is one less Windows PC sale) — and besides the XBox 360 has too many defects their customer service could be better than it is — the 360 has the Red Ring of Death while Windoze or Windows as MS calls it has the Blue Screen of Death.

    MICROSOFT IS NOT STAYING OUT OF CONTENT AUTHORING RIGHT NOW (Your right they are in!) BUT DURING THE 1990s they weren’t involved AND DIDN’T WANT TO GET IN BUT THREATENED TO DO SO to get Apple to kill QuickTime for Windows and when they didn’t Microsoft got in and have been involved in it ever since. They were more interested in media playback and streaming think of killing QuickTime and Real.

  42. manpan says:

    Mike,

    Sorry for the double post!

    For the time being I’d rather use Nintendo Wii as my video games console and/or use an older console like the PS2 — I liked the Sony PS2 but not the PS3 because of the Blu Ray issue — or just use a computer to play my games — playing games on a PC does not mean it has to be a PC running Windows. I don’t want to get games anymore for Windows but am willing to buy for Mac or Linux — and want to avoid games for XBox also.

    I just pre-ordered Super Mario Galaxy from Amazon.com and plan to get Mario & Sonic At The Olympic Games — I’m tired of first person shooters. Whatever happened to nicer games? Games that aren’t violent and influence kids to commit school shootings.

    Sony’s answer to PS3 buyers who want to play older PS games now is to own both the PS2 and PS3 and play PS2 games on PS2.

    Nintendo has done a much better job here with WIi Virtual Console I’m playing Super Mario 64 (from Nintendo 64 which I also own) on the Wii — I remember playing Super Mario 64 on N64 and now play it on Wii.

    I grew up on Nintendo games — for those who say its just for kids they’re wrong. People of all ages can play Nintendo games. My parents have played Wii Sports with me and found it fun.

    I own Super Paper Mario and Sonic & The Secret Rings, and Marvel Ultimate Alliance for Wii (the last of these games is a cross platform game and the rest are mainly exclusives) I would like to see more games in OpenGL on Windows so they can be even more easily ported to Mac and Linux than at present.

    Microsoft has deliberately crippled some support for OpenGL in Windows Vista while enabling some compatibility via emulation. MS wants DirectX to be the standard which is proprietary and they refuse to license it for use on OS X or Linux to make it harder for games to be ported to other platforms and strengthen and maintain Windows stronghold on games market further.

  43. Michael Swanberg says:

    You make some interesting points.

    First, I have to maintain that there would be issues with OSX if it were opened up. Sure, it’s UNIX, which is fine at its core, but what are the largest complaints from UNIX and Linux users? Lack of drivers. Sure, they work fine with the Intel and AMD processors. But what about video cards? USB busses? SATA controllers? Sound cards? Mice? Keyboards? Peripherals? Webcams? Fingerprint readers? These are the things that people would have to write drivers for. And unless Apple does it themselves (a slim possibility) then you’ll have many people writing many drivers, and that spells disaster. Not all will be of the best quality. And then you basically have the guts of your OSX out of the hands of Apple. Microsoft has tried to reduce much of this problem with driver signing and the like. But even now, there are lots of driver issues that cause instability. I don’t feel that Apple has the drive to go that far, and for the most part I think they’re doing the right thing. Although I wish their hardware were less expensive.

    As for console gaming, well, that is a personal choice, IMO. There are a lot of great games that are on XBox (Halo3, for instance) and not on any other platform. It’ll probably be on the PC eventually.

    But the point is that if you like Nintendo games and the games for the Wii, then that’s the platform for you. However, if you want to play the games that only come on the PS3, then you need to get one of those. Ditto XBox. I am staying away from the PS3 because it’s had a lot of issues, and also because it’s Sony and I try to stay away from their products where possible… I’m still pissed over the rootkit shenanigans. Also, the PS3 is far too expensive for what I would want it for.

    PC gaming is the best, IMO, but the hardware doesn’t get discounted at all. So if you want to play the most recent games, you need to get a new gaming rig (minimum cost is $2500 for a good one) every few years. That adds up fast. And there are still the issues with constant patches, updates, crashes, issues, bugs, cheaters, etc.

    I enjoy XBox gaming (and I think the Red Ring of Death debacle has been over-exaggerated) because it’s simple and it works. I don’t, however, like FPS games on it because I am not good with the thumbsticks for aiming and moving. I recall playing the first Medal of Honor on PC and how hard it was to get up Omaha Beach. I bought the game for a friend for XBox and was astonished how dumbed-down it was to allow for the controller movement. Heck, you could stand up in one place for at least 20 seconds before the MG42s would site you in. Downright lame. Might have been fun if I hadn’t played the PC version first.

    My biggest complaint about PC gaming is the idea that you MUST upgrade your hardware. They seem to have little regard for those that have older machines. Sure, you can turn the settings down, but that doesn’t always give a satisfying experience. After all, Half-Life 2 ran perfectly on my older machines and looked great. What is so special about these new games that couldn’t be done with that engine? I think the programmers are just getting lazy and relying on physics engines and stuff instead of innovating to keep the framerate up.

    But I digress… and I rant…

    Your point about DirectX is warranted. But can you blame Microsoft? DirectX revolutionized the PC gaming world and made it far easier to develop games for the Windows platform. It also made it much easier for games to play nice with Windows. Ever accidentally hit the Windows key in an OpenGL game? Crash city!

    I don’t disagree… it would sure be nice if games could be easily ported to different platforms. But you can’t fault Microsoft for trying to gain the most market share they can. After all, most of us would leave a job with a $10M salary for one with an $11M salary… but isn’t that just a tad greedy? I mean, it IS a $1M salary increase (a LOT of money), but what can you do on $11M a year that you couldn’t do on $10M?

    -Mike

  44. Michael Swanberg says:

    Oh, I meant to mention. Divx is a video codec. The audio codec is separate. Usually, in most divx files, the MP3 codec is used. But I have seen AAC as well.

    Hope this helps.

    -Mike

  45. manpan says:

    Mike,

    In regards to the driver issue in the event Apple licensed Mac OS X and that not all third party drivers would be the best — Apple could make the drivers themselves as you pointed out but that would be a lot of hard work and take away time probably on other projects — for third parties to do it the drivers might not work perfectly with the various hardware specifications — so Apple could use a branding program and rely on trusted third parties to make very good drivers.

    Remember Apple’s Made for iPod program or Made for Mac programs. Even Microsoft has a Games for Windows program and for games to be certified and promoted by MS with the Games for Windows branding the game makers designing the games would have to comply with certain requirements by MS to gain the seal of approval from MS for having the Games for Windows branding included.

    Not all games have the Games for Windows brand but those that do are guaranteed by Microsoft to run well in Windows.

    Apple could entice users to download and install driver software and driver updates etc from trusted sources — third parties Apple trusts to make good drivers.

    Bad drivers will still be on the market but for every awful driver there will be a better driver with the Drivers for Mac branding.

    So users will know which drivers to use and which to try and avoid. Which are better and which should not be used with certain types of hardware. Suggestions on the proper types of hardware specifications will also be published to specify what type of hardware to use — it doesn’t matter what manufacturer made your PC running OS X but whether the manufacturer used an Intel or AMD chip. What type of video card was used etc.

    For each configuration there will be a suggested driver and you only use the suggested driver with the Drivers for Mac branding with the suggested hardware set.

    I would not use a driver for an ATI video card with a Mac using an Nvidia video card. A Mac with an Nvidia video card will have its own list of drivers.

    I have never needed to install drivers with my Mac the driver software for my Mac is already included. Apple designs the driver software and bundles it with the Mac OS X Installer for when installing the operating system.

    One thing touted in Apple’s Get A Mad ads is unlike new Windows PCs on a Mac there is no trialware that needs to be deleted, you don’t have to search for the drivers and install them you can get right to work. There was an ad called Out of the Box that mentions this. The Mac guy asked the PC guy what he’s going to do first and the PC guy talks about all the things he has to do before getting started and the Mac guy says he doesn’t have to do all those things he can get started right away and is excited so he’ll start and asks PC to let him know when he’s done. PC says actually some of his parts is in another box and will have to meet up with Mac later.

    What I’m saying about drivers is Mac drivers even from third parties have a feature for driver signing. Yes you already mentioned that and despite Windows having it there are still some difficulties but remember Windows does not have UNIX.

    Perhaps if Windows was based on UNIX and had driver signing it might be somewhat better. Windows is also bloated anyways with some unnecessary apps they keep saying every new release they have added new features but all they’ve done is add new middleware or bundled apps to the operating system.

    Third party applications are bundled with Windows and Microsoft says Windows needs them to function. On almost any other operating system these third party apps are pointless for the OS to run. Yes Mac OS X comes with Safari like Windows has IE but OS X even today can run without Safari. It is bundled but not integrated so tight. I read that Microsoft hopes Windows 7 the next release which they hope to have out in 2010 will hopefully in their own words be a less a bloated release than prior versions. They have made a simplified version of Windows called MinWin (or is it WinMin) for a Mini version of Windows — to run on PCs and maybe even future Windows Mobile devices.

    You do have a valid point though on ensuring driver compatibility on different hardware specifications for which I just described a way to ensure users pick the right driver for Mac OS on different systems.

    I use an Intel based Apple Mac Mini running OS X Tiger (10.4.10 with audio update installed!) and have a Microsoft Windows based keyboard, a standard USB mouse for Windows, a standard PC monitor that can be used you guessed it with Windows and all work fine with my Mac — the very first day I plugged it all in I didn’t even need to install any driver software.

    I update the machine regularly though with the latest OS X software updates, new versions of iTunes, Safari etc.

    Oh by the way its interesting to note Apple surpassed not only Dell in market cap (Michael Dell’s now being haunted by his words in 1997 about shutting Apple down) but also surpassed Hewlett Packard and now IBM which wanted to kill Apple in the 1980s by making their own PC for which Microsoft originally agreed to supply them an operating system for when they licensed MS-DOS to IBM.

    IBM has in recent years sold off its PC manufacturing business to the Chinese PC maker Lenovo and Apple is doing great in the market.

    OpenGL was originally supposed to be the standard and had Microsoft not made DirectX and sabotaged the OpenGL project we would be playing games even in Windows that run under OpenGL code and the problems associated with OpenGL today would not exist. OpenGL would be capable of handling the type of tasks DirectX can do and as a matter of fact if Microsoft let OpenGL work better in Windows even today OpenGL through some hard work and with better access to Windows it could surpass DirectX 9 and possibly even DirectX10 in providing a better gaming experience.

    Again as to people who would think Nintendo is just for kids — I’m 23 years old and playing Wii — I grew up on Nintendo and while my friends used Play Station — I actually played PS1 and PS2 myself but never got one because I didn’t have a job yet and spent most of my time playing on a computer — I only had 1 console before Wii and it was N64 but I only had 2 games for that system that I bought ever and I hardly ever rented games for it either.

    With Wii I’ve gotten a lot of games already and am enjoying them a lot. As noted my parents even play the Wii Sports and think its cool. I like that the Wii has a new and innovative user friendly controller older Nintendo systems all used the same type of controller. Even today PS3 and XBox 360 use the same old school style controller older Nintendo systems used to use.

    My only reasons for avoiding buying future games for Windows, for avoiding upgrades to Office 2007 for Windows, Office 2008 for Mac, buying XBox 360 and games for the system etc are all tied to the fact MS is a monopoly and even when they make good products by buying them it puts good competitors at a disadvantage and in markets where they do perform poorly but they still dominate buying their products will only fuel their dominance.

    One good thing about XBox is multi-player gaming functonality in games like Halo 3 where Windows PC gamers can compete against XBox gamers and the like.

    I also don’t like Sony that much — I don’t like them at all and avoid buying music or video from them even when possible.

    The last movie I bought from Sony Pictures was a few years ago and that was The Da Vinci Code on DVD. I’m also avoiding buying their music from Sony BMG especially after the root-kit fiasco.

    Come to think of it I myself have never bought any of their electronics products although my parents have.

    There’s a really good song I found on the Internet about how Sony killed their brand. I found it hillarious! It is a remake of the song How To Save A Life.

    Microsoft and Sony are both bad. I would like high definition but not hi-def content with DRM — there is a good article when High Definition is Not High Definition I found once on the Internet if your able to find it you should read it.

    It talks about DRM taking the fun out of High Definition. I don’t even own an HDTV as I’ve said before so its not much a concern to me now but would have liked to have had a console with better graphics technology — would have bought the Wii and XBox 360 or Wii and PS3 (not XBox 360) if DRM were not in the other 2 consoles I would have bought a MS or Sony console — I would have still also bought Wii even then — so I’d have 2 current video games consoles today. Imagine a Wii and a PS3. Or even a Wii and 360 as opposed to in my case just a Wii. That’s all I have I only have the Wii and yes an N64 but that’s older.

  46. manpan says:

    Sorry for the double post but forgot to add earlier that I would have agreed entirely with you about Mac OS being unstable on other types of hardware were Mac OS 9 licensed and running on different platforms I didn’t use it much — only used OS 9 Classic Environment on my PowerBook G4 with OS X — that is I emulated OS 9 once or twice and worked with it to see how it functioned but was running OS 9 within OS X — I never actually ran OS 9 natively — but if I had perhaps on a Mac it would be somewhat okay but OS 9 had stability issues even when running on Apple’s Mac computers.

    Were OS 9 licensed I believe it would have had serious issues like Windows with stability etc. Far more than OS X ever could have on non Apple hardware.

  47. manpan says:

    Sorry again for another double or triple post but found some good articles on Why Microsoft Can’t Compete with iTunes. http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/Q4.06/F6DC3D84-5B4D-43D4-B9ED-1F2033A895DA.html

    From the above article I copied the following sentences that explain why Microsoft is trying to replace open standards like OpenGL for graphics in video games, Windows Media Photo in place of JPEG for photos, XPS Metro (MS’s Extensible Markup Language Paper Specification) verus PDF (Adobe Portable Document Format) and ODF (Open Document Format) for documents, WMV (Windows Media Video) in place of AVI (Audio Video Interleave), MOV (QuickTime Movie format), MPEG, M4V (MPEG-4 Video), Windows Media Audio in place of MP3 because its the only way Microsoft can maintain its monopoly on the desktop.

    Were open standards to continue to be successful then Microsoft would cease to matter. Microsoft seeks to replace them with proprietary formats of their own design and choosing to maintain their monopoly. They would never license away Windows APIs to anyone or else they could lose their monopoly. They forced Apple to license their APIs in the original Macintosh Operating System just so they could make Windows unless MS was ever in a position where its forced to do something it won’t do it unless its in its own best interests. Not the best interests of its customers — consumers don’t matter only the company’s zeal for extra profit matters.

    Some people I know personally joked XP stood for Extra Profits for M$ and Extra Problems or Extra Pains for customers.

  48. manpan says:

    Mike,

    I just wanted to mention after some research I did — that QuickTime 2.0 was the first version of Apple’s QuickTime software ported to Windows — since the original program was written to be an integrated system component of the Mac System Software (that is the Mac OS and by the way still is a required component for media to work in OS X) Apple when porting the product to Windows had to directly port the Macintosh Toolbox code for QuickTime with the application to Windows.

    By doing so it largely bypassed Windows to talk to the video hardware directly, delivering impressive playback performance on both platforms.

    In the QuickTime Canyon Scandal Microsoft which was concerned about Apple’s encroachment upon the PC market it intended to control itself, Microsoft released a competing product called Video for Windows AT THE END OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR. IT COULDN’T MATCH QuickTime’s PERFORMANCE BECAUSE Windows HAD NEVER BEEN DESIGNED TO WORK WITH MEDIA; VfW was also constrained by the incompatibilities and inconsistencies of PC hardware, just as GDI–the Windows drawing routines modeled after the Mac’s QuickDraw–had been over the previous half decade.

    WHEN MICROSOFT REQUESTED A FREE LICENSE TO QuickTime for Windows in 1993, Apple refused; the two companies were still locked in a court battle over Microsoft’s appropriation of the Mac desktop, and Apple didn’t want to get its second wind knocked out of it.

    Intel, hoping to accelerate the development of media work on commodity PCs–and fully aware that Apple had contracted with San Francisco Canyon to port portions of its QuickTime technology to Windows–approached Canyon to develop a video driver that would provide Microsoft’s VfW with similar performance to QuickTime. While Intel knew that Canyon possessed Apple’s code, it did not specify that Canyon needed to do clean room development, and gave the company an unrealistically short timeframe to develop the new code. Canyon simply delivered Apple’s code to Intel, which then licensed it to Microsoft.

    When Video for Windows suddenly improved in 1994, Apple investigated and found that Microsoft had simply stolen code from QuickTime in order to compete with QuickTime. Apple sued Microsoft and won an injunction that stopped it from distributing portions of the stolen code. The case was eventually resolved as part of the 1997 agreement between the two companies, detailed in the article Mac Office, $150 Million, and the Story Nobody Covered. The link to that article is here: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/592FE887-5CA1-4F30-BD62-407362B533B9.html

    Most of the info mentioned above can be found in the articles I linked to earlier How Microsoft Pushed QuickTime’s Final Cut and the article detailing Microsoft’s Plot To Kill QuickTime.

    The info was posted also to the article Road To Mac OS X Leopard: QuickTime, iTunes & Media Features (page 1) here’s the link: http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/10/25/road_to_mac_os_x_leopard_quicktime_itunes_and_media_features.html

  49. manpan says:

    Mike,

    I also heard that a number of XBox 360s have had disc scratching issues. Some XBox 360 owners actually bought a copy of Halo 3 and the disc scratched in the console’s disc drive making the game unplayable and owners had to replace the disc and send in the 360 for repairs so no more discs would be scratched.

    I’ve had absolutely no problems with my WIi — did you know Microsoft and Sony are selling their consoles at a loss and hoping to just gain market share. Nintendo though is selling its Wii console for a profit and being the # 1 best selling console on the market (for the time being while XBox 360 has # 2 spot and PS3 has # 3) and so its enjoying more market share than Microsoft or Sony and at the same time is making profit from Wii console sales (well sales of its video game system), accessories sales, software sales etc including sales of Virtual Console downloadable titles.

  50. manpan says:

    Mike,

    Any comment on XBox 360′s disc scratching issue when the 360 is turned to horizontal or vertical direction while a disc is inside the 360′s drive.

  51. manpan says:

    Also I have SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition for Mac and Windows with the Mac version using OpenGL technology since Microsoft has chosen not to license DirectX (OpenGL was supposed to originally be the standard and would benefit gamers and game publishers by making it easier to port games with great graphics to other platforms — what happened? Well Microsoft was originally behind OpenGL also but then dumped it and made the proprietary DirectX and discouraged game developers from still using OpenGL. They crippled OpenGL’s ability to work well in Windows to a point where OpenGL games would as you put it crash when pressing the start key.

    Now in Windows Vista they have added some compatibility themselves for OpenGL but only allow OpenGL as a layer within DirectX — its like minimal virtualization or emulation of the OpenGL graphical runtimes within DirectX. Otherwise further OpenGL support is still crippled — OpenGL is only allowed to work as well as Micro$oft will allow. I too am also upset with Sony or $ony over their rootkit shenanigans to the point I’m avoiding PS3.

    I’m going to start buying more games for Mac OS X and some now for Linux also to support the development and expansion of gaming on both non Microsoft operating system platforms.

  52. Michael Swanberg says:

    I cannot comment on any issues the Xbox360 is having. Mine has been perfectly rock-solid. I have heard about the red ring of death issues, but like I said, I think those may have been overstated. Or maybe just blown out of proportion. It has always been my claim that things such as this can seem to be an epidemic when you hear about a dozen or more incidents; but you never hear about people like me (or the millions like me) who have had 1 Xbox360 and it’s always worked perfectly. I have heard tales of people that go through them and are on their 6th or 7th Xbox, but you then have to ask yourself if they’re not mistreating the thing somehow. If you put it in a cabinet where there is little ventilation, and then keep your house at 80 degrees F, well, you should expect your electronics to have issues.

    As for the scratched discs, I can only say that it is true that Microsoft doesn’t design and manufacture DVD drives. They used a certain model from one or more vendors that apparently have some issues. I also know that if you don’t insert a disc just right into a tray-fed optical drive, it can maul the disc badly. In the end, if the drives are particularly faulty, then Microsoft needs to switch vendors right away. But the obvious still exists: what percentage of these drives are full-on faulty? What percentage of claims are legitimate? The Xbox is a gaming platform, which means that they are used more often by children. Anyone who knows how kids are knows that they will break pretty much anything electronic. I once watched my friend’s 3-year old run his hand across the face of his stereo and he (a very intelligent person who works for NASA) spent the next half-hour trying to figure out what the tyke had screwed up.

    I don’t want to seem like someone who thinks that nothing is wrong. But I do know that more often than not, what seems like a big problem probably isn’t that big. Mountains get made of molehills all the time. There is also a great deal of consumer-protectionist legislation that would make it very difficult for any company to offer a product that is inherently faulty. Isn’t Microsoft fixing/replacing all red-ringed Xboxes?

    Here’s an example. I was at a friend’s birthday party over the weekend and a few of the guests were bad-mouthing Vista. I am not going to say that Vista is everything that everyone had hoped for, but here’s the thing.

    One person was complaining that they refused to get Vista (he also hates Apple… so I don’t know what he’s going to use for an OS in 5 years) because of the DRM restrictions. Well, Ed Bott showed in a very informative article (http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=299) talking about how Peter Gutmann’s article from a few years ago (which is the catalyst for all the DRM shock and awe surrounding Vista… BTW, Macs don’t have the DRM for HD content, which means that you can’t play it on a Mac… hmmmmm) is completely and utterly wrong.

    The other guy at the party was complaining that Vista copies files slower than XP. I retorted with “that’s because it’s indexing as it copies… better than the XP indexer sucking cycles continuously… and you can turn it off, you know.” But to go further, who has the job of just copying files all day long? It’s a task that isn’t done that often, and most of us only copy a few smallish files here and there. So it takes 10 seconds instead of 5; you wasted a whole 5 seconds of your day. And if that’s all you do all day is copy files, then okay, perhaps Vista isn’t for you. But then that’s obvious.

    My point is that people can get a nay-sayer attitude very easily. And it’s usually a Chicken Little syndrome. When one digs deeper, the reality is usually less severe.

    -Mike

  53. manpan says:

    Its just that I read an article at http://www.llamma.com/xbox360/news/Xbox-360-Game-Disc-Scratched.htm where the author said he was helping set up his friend’s XBox 360 and had heard in advance a warning about 360 disc scratching but had forgotten about the warning temporarily — the author said originally he thought it was a fan boy versus hater issue but later experienced the problem himself. Here’s an exact quote from the article “A growing number of Xbox 360 customers are reporting having problems with their disc’s getting scratched by the DVD drive when switching the unit’s position from vertical to horizontal and vise versa.. Initially we thought this was the usual fanboy vs. hater propaganda that swirls around the launch of any new console like this. It didn’t take long until the seriousness of the situation reared it ugly head right here in the Llamma’s shop. I personally have experienced this issue not once but twice already. Here I was at a friends house helping him get this 360 all setup and networked for Live. In the process we decided to lay the Xbox on it side instead of the upright position.. I thought nothing of doing this while the unit was powered up and in the middle of a game. Big Mistake! I felt and heard the scratch happen and immediately thought; uh oh.. I think I just ruined your Call of Duty 2 buddy… sorry! You would have figured I learned my lesson and would be more careful next time I attempted something like that. Yeah.. guess not. Later on back at the Llamma shop I was taking some photos of a 360 when I decided to get a horizontal shot, again it was powered up so I made sure to do it more carefully. I guess that I was not careful enough because I got that distinct vibration and scratch noise again. There was no doubt in my mind what had just happened. I ejected the disc just to see that it was scratched like the first disc in a almost identical fashion. It will prove interesting to see if the reported Microsoft response is true or stands about replacement of the damaged game disks. Here at Llamma we just wanted to know why it was happening. ”

    SO NOT ONLY DID THE AUTHOR OF THIS ARTICLE EXPERIENCE THIS PROBLEM WHILE HELPING A FRIEND SET UP an XBox 360 BUT THE AUTHOR HIMSELF ACCIDENTALLY MESSED UP A DISC IN HIS OWN XBOX 360.

    So the author had worked with 2 XBox 360s one belonging to a friend and the other himself and in both he ran into the disc scratching issue — the argument about children messing with it makes sense — note: you know the way some people used to say Nintendo is just for kids and XBox 360 and PS3 are for older gamers — I had mentioned I still play Wii even though I’m in my 20s well assuming most 360 owners though are indeed older gamers (claim about Wii for kids can be debated its for everyone really — its a family friendly console which is fun for non gamers even — people who never played games before are lured to video games by Wii) its possible for some kids to play 360 but as it is a first person shooter console and fps games are targeted for the mature market it is doubtful that very many children would be playing 360 if any?

    So as for user error and children spoiling the discs it seems more to me like the owner accidentally forgot that there is a problem or does not know it and inserts a disc in 360 and then turns 360 to another position and disc scratches. This is unavoidable!

    With my Nintendo Wii if I have a game disc in the drive and I happen to accidentally switch the position of the console — or even intentionally doing it in which case I’m just moving it but still careful not to wreck the system — just carefully turning it over the disc is still fine and so is the system. In a 360 you move the system with the disc inside and no matter how careful you try to be if you are aware there is a disc in the drive always remove it before turning the console around — that is before changing it from vertical to horizontal positioning etc to avoid the risk of scratching the disc.

    If I had a 360 and was prone to forgetting if I had a disc in the drive etc I could easily end up scratching the disc — unintentionally of course — its not much of an accident except for the part about forgetting to remove it.

    Its funny though you should mention a person complaining about both Microsoft and Apple. Once I found an image online using Google Image search with the Windows and Apple logo together and it had the words “Choose Your Poison” trying to suggest whether you go with Microsoft Windows or Apple Macintosh your screwing yourself. I’m glad Linux is a third choice for people who want neither I wish it would improve on the desktop enough to pose as a great alternative to running Windows for folks who want to keep their PC but ditch Windows – i.e. people not wanting to buy a Mac computer but just leave Windows.

    If I went Linux I’d probably get Ubuntu but that’s just me I am aware there are plenty of other distributions or distros available — call them what you like even flavors might be another word for it.

    Also on the whole OpenGL thing I stated games on my Mac work perfectly in OpenGL — they don’t seem to crash — OpenGL gaming could work a lot better in Windows if Microsoft let it! I am at present boycotting Games for Windows (the initiative by MS to brand games designed to work with Windows Vista) and am against Games for Windows Live which is like XBox Live for Windows users you have to subscribe — to that and MS’s proprietary junk I say no thanks.

    They seek to replace every open and viable format that is cross platform compatible and universal with a closed one. Example replacing OpenGL with DirectX and in the process hindering OpenGL compatibility in Windows to being a second class graphics system that thanks to MS is prone to crash as you said — think replacing AVI with WMV and now photo formats like JPEG with WMP (Windows Media Photo) and even PDF with XPS.

    Enough is enough for me at least! I’m saying no to more versions of Windows and am sticking with XP. I am using the Open Document Format when possible and otherwise sticking to the traditional Word Document (.doc) format and PDF in place of XPS. Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) over Micro$oft Silverlight.

    If I had to choose between the AOL online service and browser versus MSN I’d choose AOL but AOL has its own problems and would prefer as a result to avoid both. Prefer Mozilla Firefox and/or Apple Safari over IE.

    Even if MS does make a good games console I don’t want them to take over the console market. They already have the controlling operating system on the computer for games. Making Windows and XBox the dominant platforms for games would be disastrous to the rest of the industry and for consumers wanting more choice.

    Everyone would be limited to MS only solutions. Correction they already have a controlling stake in games with Windows I’d hate to see that extend in consoles to XBox.

  54. manpan says:

    Also when I talked earlier about MS staying out of content authoring they are in it today but during the early 1990s they weren’t in that market and had no interest to enter although Apple was involved in it from the start with the launch of QuickTime. When QuickTime for Windows first shipped Apple chose to make the Windows version only capable of playback and limited the content authoring features to the Mac version — as MS got into content authoring after threatening Apple to give up media playback in Windows to them or else MS would enter content authoring too Apple eventually brought content authoring to the Windows version of QuickTime — today both Mac and Windows versions can handle content authoring provided they have Pro functionality.

    Here’s some more info:

    I just wanted to mention after some research I did — that QuickTime 2.0 was the first version of Apple’s QuickTime software ported to Windows — since the original program was written to be an integrated system component of the Mac System Software (that is the Mac OS and by the way still is a required component for media to work in OS X) Apple when porting the product to Windows had to directly port the Macintosh Toolbox code for QuickTime with the application to Windows.

    By doing so it largely bypassed Windows to talk to the video hardware directly, delivering impressive playback performance on both platforms.

    In the QuickTime Canyon Scandal Microsoft which was concerned about Apple’s encroachment upon the PC market it intended to control itself, Microsoft released a competing product called Video for Windows AT THE END OF THE FOLLOWING YEAR. IT COULDN’T MATCH QuickTime’s PERFORMANCE BECAUSE Windows HAD NEVER BEEN DESIGNED TO WORK WITH MEDIA; VfW was also constrained by the incompatibilities and inconsistencies of PC hardware, just as GDI–the Windows drawing routines modeled after the Mac’s QuickDraw–had been over the previous half decade.

    WHEN MICROSOFT REQUESTED A FREE LICENSE TO QuickTime for Windows in 1993, Apple refused; the two companies were still locked in a court battle over Microsoft’s appropriation of the Mac desktop, and Apple didn’t want to get its second wind knocked out of it.

    Intel, hoping to accelerate the development of media work on commodity PCs–and fully aware that Apple had contracted with San Francisco Canyon to port portions of its QuickTime technology to Windows–approached Canyon to develop a video driver that would provide Microsoft’s VfW with similar performance to QuickTime. While Intel knew that Canyon possessed Apple’s code, it did not specify that Canyon needed to do clean room development, and gave the company an unrealistically short timeframe to develop the new code. Canyon simply delivered Apple’s code to Intel, which then licensed it to Microsoft.

    When Video for Windows suddenly improved in 1994, Apple investigated and found that Microsoft had simply stolen code from QuickTime in order to compete with QuickTime. Apple sued Microsoft and won an injunction that stopped it from distributing portions of the stolen code. The case was eventually resolved as part of the 1997 agreement between the two companies, detailed in the article Mac Office, $150 Million, and the Story Nobody Covered. The link to that article is here: http://www.roughlydrafted.com/RD/RDM.Tech.Q1.07/592FE887-5CA1-4F30-BD62-407362B533B9.html

    Most of the info mentioned above can be found in the articles I linked to earlier How Microsoft Pushed QuickTime’s Final Cut and the article detailing Microsoft’s Plot To Kill QuickTime.

    The info was posted also to the article Road To Mac OS X Leopard: QuickTime, iTunes & Media Features (page 1) here’s the link: http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/07/10/25/road_to_mac_os_x_leopard_quicktime_itunes_and_media_features.html

  55. Michael Swanberg says:

    You sure do have a lot to say on these subjects… have you thought about starting a blog?

    As for the Xbox360 disc scratching, just because it happened to that guy doesn’t make it a serious problem. I think it is possible to scratch the discs if you insert them improperly. But just because that guy had it happen to him doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a big issue. I have an Xbox 360 and I have 3 friends that also have Xboxes and none of us have ruined discs in them. Does that mean it never happens?

    In the end, my take is that, yes, it does happen. But it’s more user error than some inherent evil plot by Microsoft to sell us crappy products.

    As for the OS debate, well, as with all things, they will work the way you use them. Most people who have problems with operating systems are those people that stretch them to the limit. XP won’t screw you and neither will Vista or OSX. They will, however, give you all the tools you need to screw yourself.

    To each, I can only suggest to get what you use and deal with it. I can’t go open doc format because I always put a lot of VBA code behind my spreadsheets, so not only can I not go away from Excel, I can’t even use it reliably on a Mac (my macros just seem not to work reliably in Excel for Mac).

    I think the average user can switch to Linux without much trouble. The OS works and there are web browsers and email clients. That’s what most people do with their computers, after all.

    But what about the semi-power users, like me? I like to run web servers and email servers and FTP servers and automate the heck out of nearly everything I do. But I simply do not have the time to learn how to do all of that in Linux. I am slowly getting to that point in OSX, but the learning curve for much of that is a lot shallower than it is in Linux.

    A friend of mine (the one that hates on Apple and M$ equally) complains that OSX is the OS for dummies. I find that a strange position to take. I set up an FTP server on my Mac because the IIS FTP server wasn’t letting me connect through my work’s proxy (it was an odd problem). His response was, “so you used FTP for idiots, congratulations.” Is that what the hater world has come to? Operating systems should be difficult to use or else they’re bad?

    For all of us that have had to play tech support for friends and family, I should think we would WANT computers to be easy to use.

    -Mike

  56. manpan says:

    Starting my own blog wow well I have considered it once or twice but haven’t worked out all the kinks — like what web host would I use? What specific topics would I cover? I don’t have lots of time on my hands either — I go to work early in the morning (Mondays thru Thursdays I work from 8 or 9 am till 4pm or 5pm) I have about 5-6 hours after getting off work left in my day and during that time I go on my computer, browse the web, check e-mail etc and in that time I respond in message boards etc — whenever I leave a comment to reply to one your articles I do all this writing after getting off work.

    I take some of that time also to do things like watching television, playing video games for Nintendo Wii etc — maybe reading a good book every so often and then eating dinner and eventually going to bed and after a good night’s rest wake up next day and resume the same routine the following day.

  57. manpan says:

    I’d like to know your thoughts on my findings about the content authoring front — I had already posted about it earlier how in the 1990s Microsoft was not in content authoring and not interested in it but threatened to enter if Apple did not hand over media playback in Windows to Microsoft. MS felt threatened by Apple’s QuickTime which when ported to Windows was ported along with the Macintosh Toolbox code since QT for Mac was originally built to be an integrated system component of the Mac System Software (and still is in OS X) THEY WERE ABLE TO BYPASS WINDOWS ABILITY TO TALK TO THE VIDEO HARDWARE DIRECTLY DELIVERING IMPRESSIVE PLAYBACK PERFORMANCE ON BOTH PLATFORMS.

    MS is today in content authoring they eventually made good on their threat to enter content authoring to take that too away from Apple. Originally content authoring in QT was reserved for Macs only and QT in Windows was playback only but after MS entered content authoring and as Windows became more popular Apple brought content authoring there too.

    I’d like to also hear your thoughts on the QuickTime Canyon Scandal I provided the details in an earlier post.

  58. Michael Swanberg says:

    I don’t really have much of an opinion on the matter. Both Apple and Microsoft are fiercely protective of their “space” in different but similar ways. I still contend that if it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander. Microsoft bundles IE with their OS and makes it non-uninstallable (which I understand since the Explorer interface uses IE code… think Active Desktop). Likewise, if you use iTunes, then you HAVE to install Quicktime.

    I know of no one that uses Windows Moviemaker (I only use it when I want to create a WMV, otherwise, it just sits there, unused). So I hardly believe that it is in any way crippling. I bought the upgrade to Quicktime way back, but got disenfranchised when I found out that I had to re-purchase it after an upgrade. That sucks.

    But I do own it again for the Mac platform. It’s good for quick movie edits. And only $30.

    All in all, most people get their PCs bundled with some sort of software that allows them to do what they need to in the content authoring space. Both Nero and Roxio now bundle video editors with their CD/DVD burning suites. So I really don’t think that the WMM/QT battle is an either-or. Most people can choose to use neither very easily.

    -Mike

  59. manpan says:

    I didn’t mean Windows Movie Maker is a crippling product — I meant that when MS first entered the content authoring market — well they first started designing apps to do this — their policies were anti-competitive and they attempted to cripple QuickTime — QuickTime survived the onslaught of Microsoft’s Video for Windows initiative and despite Microsoft trying to kill Apple’s content authoring business by entering it and discouraging companies helping Apple to ditch QuickTime for MS’s own technology Apple survived by buying Final Cut from Macromedia (this company is now owned by Adobe).

    MS discouraged the development of content authoring applications built to work well with QuickTime and with Intel’s help in the 1990s tried stealing code from QT in the QT Canyon Scandal for Microsoft’s own Video for Windows

    If you want QuickTime Pro but don’t want to pay the fee you can always get a pirated crack — Google QT Pro keys for both Mac and Windows are available although the morality of it I’m not certain (and there might be some legal issues but its still available).

    Ever since iTunes came out it seems its becoming more popular than QuickTime — I wonder if most iTunes users even use QuickTime with or without Pro functionality.

    QuickTime used to get all the attention and now people forget even though iTunes comes with QuickTime some people might just ignore it and think its just there because it has to be. iTunes has dwarfed QuickTime in popularity — I wonder if in general people still use it for things unassociated with QT Pro.

  60. manpan says:

    On the topic I mentioned originally of Microsoft being a software slumlord — I read some more on how Microsoft became a success. The reason they did is because of luck, deception and anti-competitive business practices. Outside those 3 areas MS never provided any really compelling innovations. I read an article at the time Windows XP came out comparing it to Mac OS X and it said the only thing innovative about XP is the P.

    The only good thing about Windows that has been innovated over the years is the Start Menu — the concept of the Start Menu has been a good one but everything else is bloated. (this can be debated somewhat the bloatware is a fact though whether you say MS has innovated in other areas or not) Unnecessary apps keep being bundled by Microsoft in new releases. Each time Microsoft says they have fixed the problems in the last release but the hype is never really fulfilled they just make a new version and say they fixed the bugs in that so XP fixed the problems in 2000 but Vista fixed the problems in XP.

    Each OS revision should not introduce new problems — the old problems should be solved and no new problems be added — so we should reach a point with no problems but for MS they can capitalize by intentionally fixing problems and creating new problems to lure users to get the upgraded versions of Windows that are supposed to fix the bugs but just introduce new ones and MS can have a constant revenue stream that never ends.

    The Windows 95 Explorer used no IE code but since then all versions by default use it which explains them making it un-install-able despite the fact litePC offers a product that lets you uninstall bundled apps in Windows that MS adds.

    I would prefer Windows without IE, Media Player, Messenger or any other bundled apps. I would then just pick and choose which to install and download the apps I like.

    Somewhere I read a suggestion (I took it as a joke!) that people should use Open Document Format and when they send it to friends or family etc and if they complain they can’t use it the people sending these files can say they don’t like freedom. You mentioned why you can’t use ODF and that is a reasonable explanation. If only MS added ODF compatibility to Microsoft Office applications. I doubt that would ever happen. That’s like them adding PDF to Office — they almost said they wanted to do it though but Adobe spoke out in concern and raised the antitrust card against MS and then Microsoft just made their own format to rival PDF named XPS or Metro (XPS stands for Extensible Markup Language Paper Specification).

    I still use Windows XP and MS Office 2002 or 2003 for Windows when running my PC and on the Mac I use MS Office X in OS X Tiger on my Intel Mac Mini — using Rosetta emulation.

    So I’m using an older PowerPC version — older than Office 2004 for Mac on an Intel Mac and it still works. Aside from that I have iWork 06 which came free with my Mac Mini and iWork 08 Family Pack which I bought as an upgrade.

    I have no intention in the near future of paying the Micro$oft tax (Microsoft tax) again whether to use MS Office on Mac or Windows so am staying away for now from Office 2007 for Windows — even if XP compatible I won’t buy it — nor will I upgrade any time soon to Office 2004 for Mac or Office 2008 for Mac when that ships in January.

    I’m happy running outdated versions of Office and more recent versions of NeoOffice, Open Office, and iWork in Mac and Windows operating systems.

    I might eventually upgrade my Office software but not anytime soon.

  61. Michael Swanberg says:

    I’m curious how you would go about downloading these apps if you don’t have IE…

    -Mike

  62. manpan says:

    Well I could use IE to download another browser, then if possible delete IE and just use my preferred browser to download other apps.

    How did people get Netscape on their Windows PC before MS bundled IE with Windows? Theoretically that method could be used too. I think there though you had to order a CD and pay for it — downloading and using such apps today is completely free. Its better to get a browser either bundled, or downloaded in a way — with bundling though if its bundled for the right reasons that’s fine but for the wrong reasons its harmful to the competitors in the market — and in markets where you have to pay for merchandise once MS forces everyone else out of market they can overcharge for products and consumers having no choice in cheaper alternatives will be forced to have to buy from MS if they choose to buy at all.

    In Windows 98 at least when they first actually bundled IE with Windows (Netscape said Win 98 was Win 95 with IE no real innovation there as nothing else changed) there was also an Online Services folder in Windows which MS added only because it had to do so to put fears of antitrust violation to rest. The Online Services folder had links to rival software like AOL, CompuServe, Prodigy etc but no version of Windows since then has had that feature.

    When your the largest software company in the world and have a monopoly on the computer desktop (did you know MS even threatened Intel before to not enter software — Intel only makes chips although it has a PC hardware business of Intel branded computers its mainly a microprocessor business responsible for making microchips for computers. Microsoft had threatened to in effect revoke Intel’s license to Windows I listened to an audiobook I got off iTunes called World War 3.0 Microsoft & Its Enemies (Abridged NonFiction) Ken Auletta) and you bundle your own apps into your operating system intentionally to harm others that is bad for everyone but the monopolist.

    If MS bundles Windows with IE but computer vendors like HP, Gateway or Dell that sell PCs with Windows preloaded decide even then they want to ship Netscape — obviously alongside IE they could not do so because of threats by MS.

    When MS made IE for Mac as part of the agreement between Apple and MS Apple was forbidden while IE was being developed for Mac from bundling non IE browsers into its Macintosh Operating System. While I don’t have all the details specifically I just know there was some requirement that Apple cannot include other browsers – if a Mac user chooses to download another browser that’s up to them and is fine but no other browser could be bundled or shown on the Mac desktop on new Mac computers. They wouldn’t allow Apple to even display links to non IE browsers on the Mac desktop.

    When MS won the first browser war Netscape actually quit the browser market making IE the only available browser on the market for surfing the web MS stopped major development of IE for Mac — MS made MSN web browser for its online service as a Windows only browser and stopped improving IE on the Windows side.

    While they released IE 5 and IE 6 there wasn’t very many changes between the two versions. Not much innovation at all. All the so called browser innovation MS had originally put in IE when it was trying to crush Netscape went exclusively into the MSN browser. After MS succeeded in crushing Netscape they just worked on the MSN browser until new choices popped up and the second browser war started this time though with even more choices.

    In the first browser war there were only 2 major browsers Netscape and IE. So when IE won Netscape faded into oblivion and the only browser available to use was IE the consumer choice and competition ended. Apple needing to replace the aging IE 5 for Mac made Safari. MS’s motives for IE for Mac were likely to only use it to crush Netscape’s air as a cross platform browser once Netscape was gone MS didn’t care about cross platform compatibility in browsers.

    They waited till Apple announced Safari and then officially stated they would end all development and support of IE for Mac. Furthermore they would remove the installer from the web so no one can download the IE software for Mac any longer.

    Now Apple has actually ported Safari to Windows.

    You only need 1 web browser to download — on the Mac when I first got my Mac Mini I just had Safari — no other browsers available and if I didn’t have Safari I would find it harder to download another browser at all.

    What MS could do is offer IE with Windows but in a different form — on the Windows installation CDs make it an extra — an optional install. Install Windows with or without IE — IE would have its own installation package — the Windows install CDs would let you install Windows with or without IE. If you choose without MS would also provide a third party browser to install in place of IE — imagine getting WIndows Vista without IE 7 — if Windows came with IE or with Firefox.

    You could get Windows with or without IE — if you choose without IE they’ll just give you another browser — of course MS won’t do this as its a greedy monopolist but they could if they wanted to reach an agreement to distribute another browser with Windows alongside IE and instead of a Windows with IE only bundled option you could get Windows with Firefox only or Safari only.

    Then if you get Windows just with Firefox but want Safari you can use Firefox to browse the web and download Safari.

    At least in Mac OS X while Apple bundles Safari with OS X you can still delete it if you want to. As a matter of fact you can delete any app besides QuickTime without having any problems — theoretically you could also delete QuickTime if you don’t care about media playback at all — but it is a system component for media playback and if you delete it but keep Safari you won’t be able to play QuickTime movie files in your browser whether Safari, IE, Firefox etc (even in Windows you need QT browser plugin for viewing QT files) — on either platform you delete QuickTime and iTunes won’t work. Also QT files won’t work in a browser — on the Mac VLC Media Player won’t work without QuickTime.

    If you don’t need iTunes, you need to view media in a browser on either platform or on a Mac don’t even need VLC and other similar apps then deleting QT is also possible but then you can’t have media playback.

    IE for Windows is not just bundled its integrated with the OS and if you run into problems running Windows IE is probably at least somewhat at fault.

  63. Michael Swanberg says:

    Two things you really need to grasp are 1) the core IE code is part of the Windows OS, so that’s why it can’t be deleted. And 2) No one is forcing you to use IE.

    In the end, the only thing about IE that is hurting you is the disk space that IE takes up. But, since it’s part of the OS, you don’t have a choice. You couldn’t complain that the OS takes too much space and should be allowed to be deleted, could you? Of course not.

    OTOH, having IE bundled with the OS is a benefit because it allows you to, out of the box, get onto the WWW and download other products. As a matter of fact, my first task with any new (or re-installed) PC is to download Firefox.

    Having IE also allows Microsoft to be able to create web-based apps that use elements of the browser that other browsers may not use. Windows Update, for example. If you removed IE, then how would you get your updates? WU uses VBScript and other parts of IE that no other browser supports. So, if you remove IE from the equation, then Microsoft will have to build a custom app to navigate cyberspace to get what you need. And with all that code, you have 95% of a browser. So then you’re basically back where you started.

    Furthermore, it is a piece of cake to hook into IE’s API and use it to write your own web-aware applications. Anyone who does so would have their software broken by the uninstallation of IE. Or else, they would have to write their own communications software.

    All in all, I am not sure what your complaint with Microsoft is, vis-a-vis IE. You aren’t forced to use IE, it’s part of the OS, and you derive a benefit from having IE there on your first boot. So what’s the problem?

    -Mike

  64. manpan says:

    Sorry for the double post but just wanted to add I remember in Windows 98 when MS first bundled IE with Windows you could still delete it — today though IE has become so integrated with the operating system you can’t uninstall it — well you can if use http://www.litepc.com products. However, MS does not provide uninstalling of IE as an option.

    IE for Mac as long as it was available could still be deleted. Nearly every app in Mac OS X could be deleted even apps like QuickTime which are considered system requirements — it is inadvisable to do so though because other apps dependent on it might stop working then — you can delete Safari on the Mac just as you can with Windows while its bundled on Mac its not integrated the OS can still work without Safari or Mac IE — Mac users if given an OS with no bundled browser would face a challenge but they could overcome it — perhaps find out from Apple how to request a CD from a company making web browsers that includes a Mac version of their browser.

    You may or may not have to pay for the CD or like I said for MS Apple could offer Safari still with OS X (as MS could with Windows) but as an optional install.

    In place of Safari for Mac users who might not want it they could offer a third party browser also as an optional install in its place.

  65. manpan says:

    Speaking of Windows Update I’d think it would at least be in most consumer’s best interest to access the site via any web browser they want. IE may be a crucial part of Windows and may be needed to even download and install other browsers — I used it originally to install Mozilla Firefox on my Windows PC and then used Firefox to install Safari — MS is seeking though to discourage use of other browsers — even if IE has in some way by being part of the OS benefited users it also has to some extent provided some disadvantages with security and stability — taking up hard drive space as you mentioned — if MS didn’t keep bundling new apps in Windows like Media Player, Messenger, IE all the time you could get the latest version of Windows to run on hardware a few years older.

    I doubt Vista would even work on my PC running 2006 vintage hardware — even if I got it work on my existing PC I would have to make major upgrades the hardware first like the graphics card, sound card, hard drive space etc.

    I’ve heard issues of Vista loading slowly, it just has performance problems right now and I’ve heard enough of its copy protection (see http://www.badvista.org) so don’t want to even use that.

    If MS didn’t keep adding bloatware to Windows (they have acknowledged it is somewhat bloated and are trying in the next version of Windows codenamed Windows 7 expected by 2010 to make it less bloated — they have created a version call MinWin) they could release updated versions that aren’t such memory hogs anymore.

    Why can’t I use Vista on the same hardware I used with XP originally — I could make a few minor modifications but nothing major — like you said about new games having to upgrade the hardware isn’t necessary but the game distros are too lazy to code it right to work with older hardware too.

    I bet if Vista was made better with less bundled stuff and less bloatware, no copy protection, more security but high performance it could run on older hardware but MS doesn’t want to allow old hardware to work with Vista they want you to upgrade your existing PC’s hardware or buy a new one preinstalled with Vista.

    Also XP could still work on newer PCs shipping with Vista but on the logo that says designed to work with Vista MS doesn’t want manufacturers to let consumers know that — they want to promote the latest versions only even if older versions can still work.

    During the U.S. Justice Department case against MS it was actually stated that http://www.litepc.com‘s products could remove IE from Windows — it was possible to make Windows work without IE — and what would happen then is the Windows Explorer application code would revert to Windows 95 based code.

    Imagine running XP with the Windows 95 Explorer — you still have XP and Win Explorer but as the IE code is gone its reverted Explorer back to a pre IE version — Win 95′s Explorer never had IE code and worked fine — in XP it could theoretically still work just fine today — as for Windows help files that are online like in html and require a browser they could still work if you get another browser to work in IE’s place.

    All websites should be compatible with all browsers — MS shouldn’t shut out non IE browsers from accessing MSN.COM, Windows Update, Microsoft Update site, or Microsoft.com — I can access any non MS related site easily using other browsers — whenever I want to access Windows Update I’m forced to use IE otherwise I can use the browser of my choice. I should be able to use the browser of my choice for accessing any website even Windows Update. However, at present that is not a possibility as MS won’t allow that.

    MS lied to the DOJ in the U.S. antitrust case against their company in the 1990s that WIndows can’t work without IE and there is no way to remove IE from the OS as it is an integral feature — it is not originally a feature of Windows it is a piece of middle-ware by Microsoft or a third party application they made themselves. http://www.litepc.com demonstrated it is possible to remove IE from a version of Windows in which IE is bundled and you can take back control of your computer from Microsoft.

    The Start Menu is a feature of Windows, on the Mac these are actual features:

    1) Dashboard & Expose (Mac OS X Panther & Tiger)
    2) Spotlight (Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard)
    3) CoverFlow (see Mac OS X Leopard)
    4) Quick Look (Mac OS X Leopard)
    5) the Dock Menu
    6) The Mac Desktop
    7) The Apple Menu )by default is non-customizable in OS X although prior Mac OSes without Dock Menu had that ability — third party applications are available to restore customization to Apple Menu)
    8) Finder (default file navigation and management system) also a system application
    9) QuickTime — also considered an application — is to OS X hat MS considers Windows Media Player to be to WIndows but no other programs in Windows for media playback require MS’s media player to work — on Mac you need QuickTime for VLC Media Player to work. Its not just an application — not middle-ware only but a system feature. Can be removed even on Mac but some other apps might not work.
    10) Safari — on Mac well could be considered a feature by Apple on Mac — their own web browser but as far as innovation goes its just an app they made and bundled with OS X like IE being bundled with Windows but is not integrated like IE is — Safari is not a major system requirement for Mac like QuickTime is on the Mac but is part of OS X now.

    In my opinion actual features are Dashboard, Expose, Spotlight, Quick Look, Cover Flow in the Finder, the Mac Desktop, Stacks in the Dock Menu, the Dock Menu, The Apple Menu etc.

    In that regard what features does Windows have? IE, Windows Media Player and Messenger nor MSN browser can be counted here.

    In Vista the Sidebar is a feature – a copycat feature of the OS X Dashboard but a feature nonetheless — the Start Menu and Windows Desktop are still features, if MS applications are excluded what other features are there? I can’t even name anymore if you can think of any please feel free to list them.

    I would not consider IE a feature of Windows but a bundled app. Same with Safari on Mac necessarily.

  66. Michael Swanberg says:

    Allowing Windows to be updated from any browser would be a HUGE security hole.

    Yes, install our browser… don’t worry, it won’t hurt you. Yes, allow it to download and install patches to your OS… don’t worry, just click yes and type in your password… no, we’re not inspecting or changing those files… trust us…

    As you can tell, I disagree with you 100% here. Although, I guess the patching ideology could be changed. Users could go out and select what they want to download themselves and then download the EXEs and run them themselves and… oh wait, not every user is as tech-savvy as you and me. Whoops, that idea just went out the window (pun intended).

    See, here’s the thing, if it weren’t for bad people in the world (hackers and virus authors), things would be a heckuva lot better. But since there are those who attack Windows code viciously, I don’t blame Microsoft for protecting their code and also the means with which to install it and its updates. It only makes sense.

    Microsoft made a decision some time ago to utilize their browser code for far more than just surfing the web. It is used in the Explorer, for instance, which allows IE to see local files as well as FTP sites and other remote sites. It also makes seeing remote file servers easier as well. It’s all integrated. The only perhaps-unnecessary cost is a few pennies worth of disk space to have the GUI. I really don’t see the problem.

    As for the media player, again, you can install any other media player you want. I rarely use WMP for anything other than playing WMV files. In the end, it doesn’t bother me and I don’t bother it.

    But I can see that it is nice for n00bs to have some way to play their MP3s and such. And if they get some tech knowledge, then they can install another player and use that. Again, I don’t see that WMP is hurting anyone.

    I disagree that Quicktime on the Mac is what WMP is on the Windows platform. WMP is more like the combination of iTunes and QT.

    In the end, it all depends on what each person wishes to do with their PC. And I don’t see the bundling of these apps to be really hindering anyone in their endeavors.

    -Mike

  67. manpan says:

    The point in allowing Windows to be updated from any browser was just to say it seems discriminatory the way MS blocks access to certain websites they have for users on non IE browsers. I guess the best thing then is to just use the Automatic Updates software in Windows and without even opening a browser just install the updates in the background. I didn’t think about the security issues when I made that statement. Your probably right — maybe my words though could have been said better.

    Well even if Windows Update being exclusive to IE only is a good thing — sometime back there was an issue accessing MSN.COM on non IE browsers — if MS is denying access to its sites just because the user does not use IE that is wrong. I have Macintosh Explorer on my Mac running OS X which is like Windows Explorer but without the browser code and works fine.

    I can still see local files and it can work as a matter of fact with my default browser — of course I can choose my own default browser.

    I was judging the Windows Update issue from the MS forcing u to use IE to access their sites and hoping you just switch to IE permanently — for them it would be ideal if all sites required IE — if there is a security issue then perhaps though it is for the best that its IE only for updating but certainly accessing MSN.COM should not require IE.

    When I talked about QT for Mac being the equivalent of WMP for Windows I mean MS would like people to believe WMP is a system requirement of Windows like IE and the OS can’t function without Media Player — you cannot play music or video without it even if using other software than Media Player like Real Player or QuickTime for Windows — MS would prefer you to still think even if using competing products Media Player is required for Windows to work.

    On my Mac I can access FTP sites well in Macintosh Explorer and/or the Finder I also can see local files on my Mac and Safari is not required for this to work — Macintosh Explorer can work with your default web browser — even if I changed it to Mozilla Firefox it would still work — in Firefox I could still access my Mac’s web based help files which in Windows would require IE only in some instances to work.

    Yes I am aware one can install any media player, or web browser etc they want I hardly use WMV I think compared to AVI its not that great a quality file format especially copy protected WMV’s are even worse than non copy protected ones.

    I didn’t mean QT for Mac is the equivalent of WMP for Windows but as MS says Media Player is required in Windows Apple says QT is required in Mac for similar reasons — media cannot work without Media Player or QuickTime in the respective operating system platforms Mac and Windows.

    iTunes cannot function without QT on either Mac or Windows and VLC Media Player for Mac cannot function without QT. In Windows MS said when told to offer an unbundled version of Windows in Europe — in its defense that third party software would not be able to work without Media Player.

    That simply is not true at least in Microsoft’s case but they use the same argument for WMP that it is a system requirement — don’t know if they mentioned QuickTime but WMP according to MS is required for media playback in Windows even via other media players just as QT is required on Mac for non Apple media players.

    WMP as an application — outside the system requirement debate is probably a combination of iTunes + QuickTime back before iTunes added video I felt WMP had 1 strong suit iTunes did not it could play music and video, plus it could be used to buy and download said content (in WMP 10) whereas iTunes was just music — not video — iTunes now can do both music and video. Its even better to use than QT at times as it has a Library and QT does not — for storing music and video files. Even WMP has a Library but QT has not had one in the same way — sure they have Favorites but otherwise no special Library to navigate and manage.

  68. manpan says:

    VLC Media Player for Windows though does not require QT but it does on Mac. If MS were right about Media Player being required in Windows then if you tried to delete Media Player from Windows and even if you did succeed but you had VLC Media Player in Windows it would probably also stop working.

  69. Kenny says:

    (Quote to Z’s comment)
    “apple peeps are usually snobs, and have poor reasons for their “superiority””.

    Usually people with more money own apple stuff thus thats why they are snobby and stuff.

  70. Michael Swanberg says:

    Riiiiiight…

    I believe there is a better explanation.

    There definitely is a “Cult of Apple”. As such, those that join the cult for the sake of the cult are those that are more likely to do so in other walks of life. There are many such “cults” (I use the term loosely) who truly feel that they are better than others, but have no real justification to back it up. Hippies, BMW owners, the wealthy, Southern Baptists… all belong to a group that, in many instances, look down their noses at others for no good reason.

    Hmmmm, hippies… BMW owners… Apple fanpeeps… any connections there? :-)

    -Mike

  71. manpan says:

    I don’t have a lot of money but I buy Apple products — Kenny you may have been trying to make a point about the cultish status of Apple and some Mac fanboys being snobbish — I use Apple products because I like them. If Apple ever stops innovating I will stop buying their products.

    Yes there is a “Cult of Apple” but to say all owners of Apple products are snobbish or have too much money is insultingly false.

    Also Mike I commented just before Kenny with a statement acknowledging I made a mistake about saying that Windows Update should work with all browsers — assuming Microsoft was forced to unbundle IE even in the EU from Windows how would Windows users be able to access the Windows Update site to download and install critical updates? Would they just use the Automatic Updates software installer? Or could they still access the site through a browser. Your right though as things currently stand allowing Windows Update to work with other browsers would cause instability and as you said LEAD TO A HUGE SECURITY HOLE!

    It is best that the actual Windows Update site works only with IE but there are sites which should not require use of a specific browser but do so anyways. Making websites work with IE only benefits Microsoft — it discourages use of other alternative browsers and is frustrating for both consumers wanting to use the browser of their choice to find a website they like will only work with IE and for competing vendors of alternative web browsers.

    IE only sites as I SAID BENEFIT ONLY MICROSOFT. We need open interoperable standards not the proprietary ones Microsoft has been pushing. Somehow Windows stranglehold on the PC gaming market with DirectX which makes it harder to port to other operating system platforms that use OpenGL instead of DirectX (OpenGL is available for Windows too but MS won’t let lots of game developers release OpenGL games on Windows) has to be broken thus allowing more cross platform titles to be released sooner — most games that come out for Mac have always been a year late — new Mac game titles are a year old on the Windows PC — the availability of games for Linux has to improve — with an increase in titles and more titles released sooner than it currently takes to get them to market.

    With XBox Microsoft wants to protect its stranglehold on gaming — they see games consoles as threats to Windows hegemony and the autonomy of their operating systems monopoly. Every console sold equals 1 less reason to buy a new PC and often times most new PCs sold come with Windows — Microsoft gets most of its revenue from the sale of new PCs with Windows as opposed to retail upgrades.

    They don’t want consoles to become viable enough for gamers that they replace Windows for games. Or even if Windows is not completely replaced for games by a console it could still give Windows a run for its money!

  72. manpan says:

    Mike,

    I also heard of a new lawsuit against Microsoft and Bungie regarding the Halo 3 game for XBox 360 stating the game is actually incompatible with XBox 360 — well some copies of it are at least I don’t know if some 360 owners got fixed versions but a lawsuit has been filed against Microsoft and Bungie by a X360 owner who bought Halo 3 and found the game crashed his system. He returned his copy and got a replacement of Halo 3 and put it in X360 after restarting the system and getting it working correctly — the replacement copy of Halo 3 also crashed the system a second time.

    If you Google Halo 3 lawsuit or XBox 360 Halo 3 lawsuits etc — use any key terms you like similar to the ones I used via Google News you should find a link to an article about this — and I think there are different copies of the article floating around the web on different websites since its been re-published a few times.

  73. Michael Swanberg says:

    I agree. The Apple products I own, I own because I like them, not because they’re Apple. There are plenty of Apple products that I don’t like, so I don’t own them. And I’m far from rich.

    As for gaming and IE, that’s a sticky situation. Here’s my take.

    Microsoft has done wonders toward making some things easier on developers. IE can be very easy to develop for, what with all the scripting it supports (ASP) and ActiveX. Trouble is, it’s a security hole. But it’s that support that allows it to function in the Windows Update. Although, that could very easily be a standalone program, like every other auto-updater out there. So, it was a good idea that went bad because of hackers.

    Directx is similar. Microsoft produced it to make it easier for game developers to do what they do. Trouble is, Directx only works on Windows. And why should it work on any platform other than Windows? It’s Microsoft’s baby, after all. So, the developer can choose to not use Directx, and they can also choose to make their games for Macs or Linux machines, but then their audience diminishes (and, hence, profits). It’s just easier to write Directx games. This has also helped to push Windows as the OS of choice for PC gamers.

    But then the trouble is that Microsoft has gotten over-zealous in their eagerness to make Directx the ONLY viable way to write games. That kills competition, which is always bad for the consumer.

    As for the Halo3 lawsuits… I think that’s ridiculous. So you can’t play your game! Boo-hoo! Just get your money back (or sell it on eBay) and go do something constructive. Suing over this is just stupid, in my opinion.

    -Mike

  74. manpan says:

    IE has some advantages — in the pre IE world Windows users wanting to even install a web browser would have a harder time doing so — as you have mentioned it would be tough to install an alternative web browser if there is no default browser already installed. Without IE in Windows it would be nearly impossible to download and install Mozilla Firefox or install Apple’s QuickTime & iTunes software. Before IE Windows users wanting to get Netscape would have to pay for it. Today the majority of all web browsers are completely free to download, install and run.

    The problem is IE’s lack of compatibility for certain web standards that all other browsers use. Not including compatibility for specific and open web standards is a negative for IE.

    At least Safari on the Mac can be deleted from OS X if the user doesn’t want it. I would use IE to install Firefox on a new PC running Windows and then delete IE if possible. However, IE cannot be deleted from Windows. The issue is IE’s lack of compatibility for certain web standards all other browsers use. Even when they do work with a certain set of web standards unless they make the standard themselves they cripple its ability to function in IE. The inclusion of ActiveX in IE and bundling of IE in Windows has created a huge security hole as virus writers, hackers, etc can hijack a Windows PC by way of Internet Explorer.

    What’s more Microsoft originally supported OpenGL and they allegedly quit the OpenGL group and decided to withhold important information for making OpenGL work in Windows for games. A number of game developers complained to Microsoft when they first did so and insisted Microsoft reveal the information to make OpenGL compatible — Microsoft said they would only allow OpenGL to work in Windows provided it is not used for games. They said DirectX was designed for gaming and eventually they drove all developers reluctantly to DirectX and as they had no choice in the matter a number of game publishing companies ditched OpenGL.

  75. Michael Swanberg says:

    That’s funny. According to most of what I read, IE is MORE standards-compliant than most other browsers. MS does add a lot more to IE, as well.

    Again, the reason that IE cannot be deleted is because it holds all of the display code for Explorer, as well as some other pieces of the OS. Sure, it could be done differently, but this was the way they chose. I don’t find IE intrusive at all. I use Firefox (and Safari sometimes) and just ignore IE. Frankly, the few MB is occupies on my hard drives doesn’t bother me at all. And I know it’s there if Firefox ever decides to stop working. You may as well be screaming that the DOS Command shell be removed from Windows since it’s laregely superfluous.

    A lot of companies use the power of IE for their intranet solutions. A good friend of mine happens to be a web developer for his company’s intranet and they use .Net exclusively since it’s easier to develop back-end processes in. But they also take advantage of ASP in IE.

    As for the security holes, I hardly blame Microsoft 100% for that. That’s like blaming the glassmaker for the broken window that allowed thieves into a store to rob it. The true enemy in security is hackers and we shouldn’t lose sight of that. As well, IE can be completely locked down; you can disable scripting and activex and enable them on a per-site basis, so it CAN be secured pretty easily. The only real trouble is that most users aren’t savvy enough, so the high-security setting should be the default, IMO.

    As for OpenGL, I hardly think that MS is telling people what they can and cannot develop. Sure they may make it FAR easier to use Directx, and even difficult to use OpenGL, but to the best of my knowledge OpenGL is alive and well. Isn’t Quake4 OpenGL?

    -Mike

  76. manpan says:

    From what I read yes IE is somewhat standards compliant but the way it implements those standards is often weaker than other browsers. Opera Software the maker of the Opera web browser is suing Microsoft over lack of web standards in IE. Here’s a link from Digg: http://www.digg.com/tech_news/Opera_vs_IE_Round_One_Fight_2

    Scroll down halfway through the page into the comments and one of the comments is pretty self explanatory on the web standards issue: “I like this complaint, it is a different tact. It is more about how Microsoft is abusing IE’s dominence to keep web standards from being more widely adopted, since developers have to choose between supporting IE or supporting the most recent official standards.

    So Microsoft is apparently abusing IE’s dominance to keep certain web standards from being more widely adopted. Web developers have to choose between supporting IE or the most recent official standards for all other browsers.

    In Windows 95 the Explorer code did not use IE — I remember IE was first added in Win 98 and there wasn’t much difference between 95 and 98 except one version came with IE bundled and the other didn’t. It is possible to remove IE even now using products from http://www.litepc.com despite the fact Microsoft wants users to think its impossible. MS may not be 100% responsible for the security holes but at least 95% responsible in my opinion.

    I actually support hackers when their hacking for a good reason. Hackers who hack computer systems to do harm are bad people. However, people who hack devices like Apple’s iPhone to make it run on other networks than AT&T in the U.S. I support their actions.

    As for Quake being an OpenGL game it is one of the very few games then on Windows coded for OpenGL and I believe OpenGL games in Windows because of sabotage on Microsoft’s part are likely to crash if while playing the game you press the start menu key.

    In a DirectX game the game will just minimize and the Start Menu will come up. Microsoft wants DirectX to be used for high definition games and OpenGL to be used in other situations. They won’t even allow OpenGL to work in Windows Vista independently of DirectX. They decided to emulate OpenGL using DirectX etc.

  77. manpan says:

    Opera in its lawsuit against Microsoft in the EU over IE rightly claims that Microsoft is using its dominant position to unfairly influence the web browser market by bundling Internet Explorer with Windows and by “not following accepted Web standards,” which Opera says causes developers to create web pages specifically for IE that break in other browsers — and thus lowers the incentive for users to switch.

    Their solution is to force Microsoft to either unbundle IE or force them to also bundle an alternative web browser.

    When Microsoft first bundled IE in Windows 98 I remember there was an Online Services folder with the browser software for AOL, Prodigy and CompuServe included. All previous versions since then have been lacking the Online Services folder. MS had Online Services folder because it was required for antitrust reasons. They could still provide this in Windows or as I like to call it Windoze.

  78. manpan says:

    Sorry for the triple post but there was one more thing I needed to add.

    The issue with standards and IE is two-fold. One, IE supports things (certain MS-specific programming code that really only works if you’re using a Windows machine) that no one else does, and it also doesn’t properly support some of the accepted web standards that everyone else does. PNG image files with transparencies were an issue in IE6 (instead of showing as a tranparency, it showed a blue background). Thankfully they fixed the issue with IE7 though, but it still highlights the issues that there are accepted things that everyone else supports and does, that IE does not. In CSS there’s all sorts of little hacks you sometimes have to do to get pages to render correctly in IE because IE doesn’t always support what everyone else does.
    This is what we’re talking about in regards to following web standards.

    Asking them to adhere to the accepted web standards doesn’t stifle innovation in the least. IE NOT following the standards is what stifles innovation from a developer’s side of things, and it hurts the end user as a result by reducing interoperability and causing developers to have to design to the lowest common denominator (often IE in my experience).

    IE was also the last browser to feature tabbed browsing (AFAIK anyway). Mozilla/Netscape/FF and Opera have always been on the forefront of browser innovations, with IE always trailing behind, trying to do the web their own way. As a developer, my issue with standards isn’t one of IE going above and beyond, it’s more about IE not matching what everyone else (ie: FF, Opera) does.

  79. manpan says:

    The above statement I found on the web and I agree with it completely about the web standards, problems with PNG files in IE 6 that were resolved in IE 7, lack of tabbed browsing in IE until IE 7 etc.

    What difference was there between IE 5 and IE 6? None. No innovation. Microsoft had abandoned IE innovation but started innovating its new MSN Explorer web browser for its MSN.COM online service. Now they have started innovating IE again.

    IE and MSN have to keep up — IE falling behind but MSN alone doing well is bad.

  80. manpan says:

    Here’s the link to the statement I found on the web forgot to put it in previous post: http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/opera_vs_ie_round_one_fight.php

    See comment #6!

  81. Michael Swanberg says:

    You raise some valid points, but I still have to drag back to reality. Here are my thoughts.

    First, I am not sure what you mean by MS implements standards weaker. It’s either standards-compliant or it isn’t. But I do agree that Microsoft shouldn’t be dictating its own standards and ignoring those of the W3C. That’s just hubris.

    Moving forward, what’s the problem with IE coming late to most innovation parties? First of all, tabbed browsing gets a huge “big whoop” from me. How is tabbed browsing significantly better than the way it was in IE6 and before where you could have multiple windows open? In fact, tabbed browsing is worse because a crash takes down all the pages you had up! Thank God Firefox now will restore the session when that happens. But it was possible with IE to crash one window while the others remained open.

    Pop-up blocking is, IMO, far more useful than tabbed browsing.

    But the reality is that IE is far more used than any other browser, so they have to be VERY careful when updating. Microsoft goes to great lengths (far greater than I think they need to) to make sure that what did work still works. It’s stifled innovation in their OSes, IMO, because they still want the old stuff to work. Apple doesn’t worry about that. You have to buy all new software, including the expensive Photoshop? Aww, too bad. Apple doesn’t care. But no one seem to complain. Again, it’s because MS is the big guy on the block, so they take all the negative complaints.

    As for innovation between IE5 and IE6, is this really a problem? Did Microsoft charge a lot of money for the upgrade? Here’s a free browser. And here’s another free browser that just has a different number. Did you pay too much for the new number?

    As for IE allowing stuff that only Windows users can use… um, what’s the problem there? It’s obviously a working strategy on their part. If webmasters were creating sites that non-IE users couldn’t use in any great number, you’d think there would be enough complaining to make IE’s different abilities all but useless. But they’re still out there, being used to a great degree. And I can’t fault what obviously works.

    In the end, I really don’t see the problem. If IE is so horrible, then don’t use it. And if they are last to the innovation party, so what? It just means that other browsers will grab market share. For all of this, there are alternatives. Windows isn’t the only OS out there. There are literally hundreds of Linux flavors out there. But if you have a NEED to use Windows, then you can hardly blame Microsoft, can you?

    As for their gaming strategems, well, I can’t fault them there either. Right now, there are two reasons why Windows still dominates. First is that Windows is well-entrenched in businesses and it has become cost-prohibitive for them to switch to Linux or Mac. As long as Windows is still viable, companies will keep using it.

    But second is games. Pretty much 100% of all geeks would abandon Windows if they didn’t need it to play games. I know I would… well, at least until my chosen OS becomes the target for 99% of the world’s hackers, at which time I would switch again. But I keep Windows on my machines for games (and also for some compatibility reasons). So I don’t fault MS for scratching with all their might to keep Windows the best gaming platform.

    And FWIW, Directx is obviously something good or else we would see far more games that are not Directx. And if the Windows key is a real problem in OpenGL games, then I’m sure we would see more hardware solutions. My new Logitech G15 Gaming keyboard has a switch that disables the Windows key, for example.

    See, I’m a capitalist, through and through. The market seems to find a way to make things how the consumer really wants them. It’s not a perfect system, but it seems to work. Game developers are using Directx for some reason… what is it? Could it be that Directx is the most compatible and easiest to develop for?

    -Mike

  82. manpan says:

    What I meant about IE lacking standards was perfectly in line with what you stated about them dictating standards the rest of the browser industry cannot or chooses not to use. Instead of using the standards as all other browsers they sometimes make a new standard that is IE only. Making websites that work only with IE is a bad thing because the Internet is supposed to be free and open to use. Just get an ISP — you have to pay a monthly fee for Internet access but are not charged based on what websites you visit or how long you spend your time on such and such website.

    Cable and telecom companies are actually trying to do away with Net Neutrality so they can become gatekeepers. In a way if more and more IE only websites emerged then Microsoft could become a gatekeeper itself and control most of the access to and from the Internet. Imagine MSN.com viewers being forbidden from browsing away to AOL.com from the Microsoft site. From any other site if they wanted to go to AOL.com they could but if MS made MSN work only as long as the user doesn’t surf AOL. That’s just a theory of what they might try to do if they could.

    Microsoft dictating their own web standards and ignoring those of W3C is the problem. Also if every website tomorrow except sites like Apple.com which has its own Safari browser and the http://www.getfirefox.com website for Mozilla Firefox became an IE only website then every Windows user running non IE browsers and users of other computer operating systems for which IE is unavailable will not be able to access those sites.

    What if tomorrow I want to access my e-mail but my web based e-mail provider tells me to access their site in future I need IE but I;’m using Mac OS X or Linux for which IE is unavailable (yes MS did make IE 5 for Mac OS X but has since discontinued future development and removed IE 5 for Mac even as a download.

    So Mac users who had IE already may still have it unless they delete it but users who switched to Mac since then or bought a newer Mac with Safari will be unable to use IE and access those sites. Basically if my email provider became an IE only site that means I wouldn’t be able to ever check my email there again.

    Even if running Windows and I used a non IE browser well I could easily move back to IE but what if I don’t want to use IE I shouldn’t be forced to use it to access a specific website. The issue with Windows Update being IE only makes perfect sense. It is good that it is an IE only website but perfectly normal websites that could safely run on other browsers but have been decided to be IE only harm everyone but Microsoft.

  83. Michael Swanberg says:

    Again, I have to pull back to reality.

    The main issue with IE is the security holes, correct? After all, if IE were perfectly secure and worked as people expected, then I think there would be far fewer complaints. Yes, I see your point about their lack of innovation and their slowness to add features, but that has to do with the installed base. They can’t make as many changes as fast since they have a lot of people using the product.

    In any case, IE’s security holes are the main problem most people have with it. As such, that story will spread quickly. So any site that is IE only will quickly see their potential user-base dwindling as people move off of IE to other platforms. And the webmaster then would be a fool not to make his site accessible to other browsers. Indeed, most “IE only” sites have versions of themselves for non-IE users; they just say, “you’ll have a better experience using IE here.”

    It’s called the “invisible hand” in economic theory and it’s a real phenomenon.

    As for the standards compliant, I have to disagree. Implementing to standards and then creating new functionality on top of that is still standards-compliant. Basically, the W3C says, “you must be able to do X.” Then IE does X and also adds in Y. Well, having implemented X, they are standards-compliant. Y doesn’t detract from that at all. We’d said that IE is more standards-compliant than most other browsers (AFAIK), so they cannot be ignoring the W3C. They’re just adding on to it with their own innovation.

    As for Windows Update, I am on the fence on that one. Yes, I know that it has to be an IE site because it uses ActiveX, which is required because, hey, the site is altering your OS! But therein lies the rub! ActiveX can alter your OS over the internet! Can anyone say “huge security risk”? But is there really any way around that?

    As I think about it, MS could create a standalone application that goes to the net to get updates. But how would you validate the veracity of the program? A hacker could substitute his own program quietly which would claim to be valid and act in every other way as the MS update client. So it is a good thing to actually go directly to the microsoft site for updates because the code is right there and can be validated.

    But then again, if a hacker can get control enough of your machine to change the update program, then he can pretty much do anything he wants anyway, can’t he?

    As for Net Neutrality, I think you’re missing the point on that. The downfall of AOL and Compuserve, for example, was the lack of ability to get out to the real internet like everyone else can. I hardly doubt that MS would want to corral you to MSN.com because all it takes is someone to send you a link to a YouTube video that you can’t get to before you say, “no more MSN!” and change ISPs. Again, the “invisible hand” at work.

    No, Net Neutrality has to do with the idea that you pay your ISP, but Google doesn’t. But there is a lot of Google traffic going over your ISP, so they want to charge Google for it. It’s just plain and simple greed. Google has an ISP that they pay millions per month to. And that ISP most likely has an agreement with your ISP for exchange of traffic. Therein lies the evil, they want to double-dip from the well. Now, if they charge Google and pass the savings to me, then I won’t complain too much. But then that goes straight toward hindering small businesses and, hence, helping the large ones. Google could afford the increase, but could any other startup search engine? Probably not, so then we get stuck with the likes of Google and innovation gets stifled.

    Another issue in the Net Neutrality debate is the idea of what ISPs can do with traffic. Some ISPs have been caught packet-shaping, which is setting the priority of the packages based on their content. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. After all, wouldn’t you prefer your gaming traffic to get a higher priority over your email traffic (there is a such thing a “gaming router” which does just that)? You’re not going to read your email a nanosecond after it arrives, but latency in gaming is death!

    But the ISPs also want to cut back-office deals with nefarious groups such as the RIAA and MPAA to, for instance, de-prioritize packets containing MP3 data or BitTorrent data. I think this is deplorable for two reasons. First, there is nothing inherently evil in BitTorrent. In fact, many Linux distros are fed by torrent, and that’s 100% legal! As an analogy, they are basically saying something akin to, “the bank robbers used a car to get away, so now all cars are illegal.” Second, it won’t work. Clever people in the www-osphere will always find ways around whatever obstacles they want to. Torrent packets are being encrypted so that the ISPs can’t identify them. And if that fails, then BitTorrent 2.0 will probably appear. Eventually, there will probably be dynamically morphing packets so that there is no way to know what’s in each one.

    Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It would do away with packet-sniffers and man-in-the-middle attacks. Well, okay, it would just reduce their effectiveness.

    I’ve gotten off-topic a tad… sorry.

    -Mike

  84. manpan says:

    After Microsoft won the original browser war with Netscape they purposely quit innovating IE because they didn’t feel the need to do so. As long as IE was the only browser users would be compelled to run IE — there are no other choices they could not get a more innovative browser like Mozilla Firefox, Opera, or Apple Safari. Interestingly, they made a new web browser called MSN Explorer now called MSN Internet software for members of their Microsoft Network online service that competes head to head with AOL. They suddenly started paying more attention to MSN than IE. MSN had tabbed browsing and popup blocking features added before IE did by Microsoft.

    It seems they made a second browser and innovated that exclusively for a while and while they did issue the IE 5 and IE 6 updates IE 6 did not get any new features that IE 5 did not already have but MSN was getting new features at the same time.

    Microsoft does have a standalone installer separate from the main Windows Update site already — actually the installer gets its files from Windows Update but does not require IE to be running to get the updates — unless the Windows Update site is actually loaded. Remember Windows XP’s Automatic Updates feature? Sometimes I have run that while IE was closed. It still downloads and installs the updates and I can browse to other websites in non IE browsers. To access Windows Update website though IE is needed.

    Yeah in a nutshell I agree with the following statement: “Net Neutrality has to do with the idea that you pay your ISP, but Google doesn’t. But there is a lot of Google traffic going over your ISP, so they want to charge Google for it. It’s just plain and simple greed. Google has an ISP that they pay millions per month to. And that ISP most likely has an agreement with your ISP for exchange of traffic. Therein lies the evil, they want to double-dip from the well. Now, if they charge Google and pass the savings to me, then I won’t complain too much. But then that goes straight toward hindering small businesses and, hence, helping the large ones. Google could afford the increase, but could any other startup search engine? Probably not, so then we get stuck with the likes of Google and innovation gets stifled.”

    I was just mentioning some of the other problems on the Internet being created by big companies like Microsoft.

    I was exaggerating about MSN not letting you surf to AOL. Mac OS X does not have an official update website like Windows Update. You can download updates using your web browser in Mac OS X from http://www.apple.com/downloads to important Mac OS X applications via the Apple section but its not like Windows Update that constantly searches the software on your computer when you run that site to find updates you don’t already have.

    The Software Updates feature in Mac OS X — the standalone installer shows you updates yet to install on Mac OS X whether system software or application updates. The net neutrality issue is important and it would be awful if the cable and telecoms got their way on the issue. Imagine if the cable and telcos banned Net Neutrality tomorrow. Like you said things would not be that good for small Internet businesses and consumers would also face a somewhat degraded Internet experience.

  85. Michael Swanberg says:

    Well, I want to say that I have no problem with big companies running the show… just as long as they’re the best that’s available. As an example, and I’ve said this before (probably somewhere on this page), I think Apple goes to great lengths to tell consumers how they should do things. Very little about their products are customizable. But overall, Apple seems to do a good job of figuring really good ways to do things. So it’s not a big problem. But still, I guess it would be nice if their brilliance in design were simply the default, and not the rule.

    As for the standalone updater, you are correct. I forgot about the XP updater. But I still can envision that such an application would be a prime target for hackers to substitute. But of course, the other side of that coin is that with all the browser add-ons, who knows what they’re doing with our connection to MS Update? It boggles the mind to even consider the security holes that probably exist there.

    OSX does indeed have a dedicated software updater that is used to announce updates to all of the core OSX apps as well as the OS itself (iTunes, iCal, the kernel, iPhoto, Quicktime, etc.). I assume it goes out to a common internet location to discover what updates are available. Sure, it’s not a website, per se, but it’s probably one common location.

    I would wager that the net code of the Windows standalone updater is IE code. Windows doesn’t have its comm code enmeshed with the kernel like *nix does.

    -Mike

  86. manpan says:

    Apple has even ported its software updater application for Mac OS X called Software Update to run on Windows. So Mac and Windows users running Apple programs like QuickTime + iTunes and Apple’s Safari web browser can easily update to the newest versions. Mac OS X’s Software Update application now comes for Windows when you install Apple programs.

    Whether Windows Automatic Updater application requires IE to be installed to function it doesn’t require IE open to get updates. You can even hide access to IE and still use Automatic Updates. Sometimes I like the idea that with Windows it runs on all kinds of hardware but it is still proprietary.

    Microsoft and Apple have horizontal and vertical business systems where one company builds proprietary software that can run on the majority of the world’s x86 based personal computers (think Intel and AMD) and the other Apple builds its operating system to run on a specific and proprietary set of hardware it designs and manufactures itself save for the processor which it gets from a third party company be it Motorola, International Business Machines (IBM) and FreeScale Semiconductor based PowerPC (PPC) chips or the new Intel chips Apple uses now.

    There are 3 major operating systems that are all capable of now running on Intel chips. Windows by Microsoft is the most common and machines by Intel running Windows are called Wintels. The new Macs with Intel chips are referred to as Macintels and Linux machines running on Intel processors which are not given at the desktop level a lot of attention are called Lintels.

    It would be preferrable if an operating system like Linux could gain more traction in desktop computing and then since it is not restricted to a certain set of hardware and is not proprietary like Windows it would be the best operating system to use as far as fair use concerns come into play. Linux could work just as well as Windows but without the restrictions MS and Apple impose.

    One thing that bugs me I even read an article about this sometime ago is when it comes to selling personal computers specifically those running Windows Microsoft often dictates to the manufacturer how to make the computer. Microsoft doesn’t tell Hewlett Packard how to make digital cameras, music players, printers and consumer electronics devices in general so why should they able to dictate how to make and sell computers. In recent years they have used this ability to discourage PC vendors from supplying Linux. Save for Apple which has its own operating system they would tell all PC manufacturers you have to build your computers a certain way and they have to not only run the latest versions of Windows but they have to come with such and such software.

    If Hewlett Packard decided they wanted to bundle QuickTime and iTunes for some reason on all new PCs they manufacture and sell running Windows tomorrow but Microsoft doesn’t want that often times in the past Hewlett Packard would be obligated to remove the software Microsoft doesn’t want.

    Some years ago while Compaq was an independent company and before iTunes was created they struck a deal with Apple to bundle QuickTime. Microsoft found out Compaq was going to supply Apple QuickTime to customers of new Compaq PCs running Windows and Microsoft threatened to either revoke Compaq’s license to sell PCs with Windows or raise OEM prices for Compaq to get Windows if they didn’t cancel their plans to bundle QuickTime. Compaq relented and removed QuickTime from their PCs because of Microsoft’s threat. Issues like this were raised in the proceedings of the Microsoft antitrust case by the U.S. Justice Department that was settled a few years back.

    Microsoft was even able to threaten PC vendors to not supply desktop Linux a few years ago and if they did to not promote PCs they sell that come with Linux or OEM prices would be raised for Windows. Microsoft has just been having too much power in the past and wrongly using it to harm competitors.

    I agree though that sometimes when a company gets successful many smaller players sometimes file frivolous lawsuits against them just because their unhappy that this other company is doing well and the plaintiff company filing the lawsuit is not doing well.

    Just because a company is big that’s no reason to sue them however, when they do something wrong they should be pursued and tried under law. The problem is Microsoft doesn’t think the laws apply to it. It can do whatever it wants. It makes lots of money whenever it has to pay a fine they don’t care that much they know they’ll make up for what they had to pay and their rolling in dough — just an expression.

    They think their above the law and its about time they were really punished for their wrongdoing. They always deny guilt even though they know they are guilty. They are trying to escape punishment so they can just continue doing what they always do. I am glad that the EU and South Korea actually punished them with harder penalties than the US Justice Department did. I mainly blame the Bush Administration for their being let off the hook. Bush is pro big business and anti-consumer. Some big businesses are really bad. Take AT&T for example, Microsoft, Intel, possibly IBM and I’m sure there are more I can’t think of right now otherwise I’d mention more names.

    Having a monopoly is technically not illegal but anticompetitive actions to maintain and enlarge that monopoly at the expense of consumers and other businesses; the businesses which compete with the monopoly holding company are illegal.

    If Microsoft doesn’t tell HP how to make printers why should they be able to tell them how to make computers. HP should be free to decide how they want to make their computes and if they want to bundle software on their computers running Windows like QuickTime even if Microsoft doesn’t like it the decision is HP’s.

    Microsoft cannot and should not be able to say no to HP we won’t allow you to sell Windows with AOL software or QuickTime software.

    Furthermore if HP chooses to supply Linux on some of their computers Microsoft should not be able to threaten HP to remove Linux on those PCs and replace them with Windows so every non Apple computer in MS’s opinion should be loaded with Windows. Microsoft’s goal is to have a computer on every desk running Microsoft software.

    A better thing would be to have a computer on every desk running some software. It doesn’t matter what software it is.

  87. manpan says:

    First sorry for the long post above and the double post below but had to get these comments out into the open.

    I just posted a new comment on your Apple TV ++ article. What do you think about the new iTunes movie rentals? Could they help Apple TV? Also I think WMV is way too proprietary a format. I like neither unprotected or protected WMV and the quality of a WMV video file is not very good. I prefer AVI, MOV, M4V (MPEG 4 Video), MP4 (MPEG 4 Video), MPG, MPEG files whether protected or unprotected they would be much better.

    I also like the less proprietary DRM free MP3 music format for audio or unprotected AAC over WMA. I convert a lot of unprotected WMAs I sometimes get to MP3 and play them on my iPod.

  88. Michael Swanberg says:

    I think you’re making a small leap in logic. Microsoft cannot tell HP what to do. But Microsoft can structure the deal they have with HP. If HP wishes to continue to have a good relationship with MS, then they will comply.

    FWIW, I don’t have a problem with Microsoft telling hardware manufacturers what hardware works best with Windows. After all, getting the best fit reduces customer support calls.

    But I do have a problem with MS telling HP to not bundle Apple software because that is indeed anticompetitive.

    Let’s be fair here. Microsoft has done some very shady things in it’s history. But to be honest, not everything they have done is dishonest and nasty. All I am saying is let’s be fair and give credit where credit is due, and condemnation where it is likewise due.

    In the end, people are still free to build their own computers if they like and put whatever hardware they wish into it. And they can put whatever OS they like on it too. HP offers a service to do that for the consumer, and so by choosing to purchase from them, the consumer is stuck with the decisions that HP makes.

    As for WMV being proprietary… so? It’s a format that runs on over 90% of working PCs. Is that a problem? You may wish to know that MP3 is proprietary. So is MP2 (which DVDs use for encoding). MP4 is also proprietary and DivX is the reverse-engineering of MP4 video, and XviD is the open-source version of DivX. Quicktime MOV is also proprietary. If you really want to go open source, Ogg Vorbis is the only media compression algorithm that I know of. But WMV and WMA are open to use for any owner of a PC running Windows. Doesn’t sound like much of a restriction to me, proprietary or not.

    As for quality, I agree that at low bitrates, WMV sux. But once you get up into the high-def bitrates, WMV is pretty darned good. It seems to run smoother than MP4 most of the time. At least for me.

    -Mike

  89. manpan says:

    Okay well to date I haven’t seen a High Definition bitrate WMV file so I wouldn’t know if the quality in that is better than the ones I have seen from my experience it is just better to use another format. Yes I know MP3 isn’t exactly open source it is somewhat proprietary too but it isn’t tied to a specific operating system or specific music player. MP3 is by far the most popular file format for file sharers who use peer to peer to download music freely — for which RIAA sues them when they can claiming its piracy and illegal to share music. Music they argue is not free. Okay agreed it is not good to steal music.

    I have a friend who often times in the past would download a few songs for free online but then each time he gets a free song he would still buy CDs regularly so he was still paying some of his money for the music. The claim that artists are losing money because of p2p is somewhat false. Even when a legitimate sale occurs the greedy record labels tend to give artists a very small cut. The estimated amount musicians make from each song sold on iTunes is 10 cents. Only 10 cents a song — this has always happened even in the days of CDs. The record label executives keep most of the money for themselves and while the label makes more money the artist gets a lot less.

    I would still prefer MP3 over WMA. CD Audio is also good when you have a CD. The music labels just want to generate the same amount of money in digital music sales as they have in CDs each year and that’s just not possible. With digital music consumers can now often times just pay for singles. Gone are the days they are forced to buy entire albums most consumers won’t pay for entire albums when purchasing music online via download stores. Record labels just don’t understand this very well and when they see they are making money through digital music sales but not as much as they do from CD sales and with declining CD sales their first thoughts are that they are being robbed and all the money they don’t have they didn’t get because consumers are stealing music.

    Sometimes some people have stolen music but the figures of how much music is stolen is over-exaggerated by RIAA and they make it look much higher than it really is. They say the worst crime is piracy and is more important than mail fraud, bank robberies, thefts of physical goods from people’s homes, hijackings etc.

    Speaking of MP3 Amazon is even selling downloadable music in that format which is great because its copy protection free and works on all devices including the iPod and its competitors.

    Microsoft telling hardware makers what hardware they think works best with Windows when their intentions are good in doing so is fine. You say you don’t have a problem with them telling hardware manufacturers what hardware they think works best with Windows and that’s fine in the sense they are doing it to ensure the best compatibility and reduce customer support calls. However, if MS tries to tell HP to only supply Intel chips in its next batch of Windows PCs even if those same PCs can run AMD chips is bad — if their motivations for doing so are just to help Intel maintain its dominance in chip processors market through any means neccessary — if those same computers can run just as well on AMD — they say Intel hardware works best with Windows so they want manufacturers to use Intel chips if manufacturers find out AMD could work just as well as Intel and MS has some reasons for imposing Intel on PC manufacturers supplying Windows that has nothing to do with providing better compatibility — lets say they lie about AMD chips having a compatibility issue when there is no issue for them to say Intel chips work best with Windows they can’t tell PC makers to only supply Windows PCs with Intel chips. What about consumer choice?

    What if consumers want new Windows PCs with AMD and QuickTime? MS can’t tell hardware manufacturers to not sell Windows PCs with QuickTime. Its the manufacturers decision — Microsoft can make recommendations but they can’t force it. They can’t tell hardware manufacturers that Windows will only work better if the manufacturer doesn’t install software of its own choosing on the system. If a manufacturer wants to sell Windows computers loaded with iTunes (for Microsoft to tell hardware manufacturers what hardware works best with Windows they can’t also tell manufacturers what software works best) if a manufacturer reaches a deal to bundle Mozilla Firefox on its new PCs running Windows (IE would still be bundled) but the manufacturer can decide to include Firefox on its own whether Microsoft likes it or not its not in Microsoft’s place to say no Firefox will ruin Windows.

    If enough consumers ask Dell or HP to supply Firefox and they decide to listen to the consumer their providing an alternative by default to IE imagine having 2 web browsers bundled on a new computer the one Microsoft wants to use (and insists you cannot ignore) and one consumers will like even more — consumers who prefer neither of the two can download Opera browser, Apple Safari or some other browser.

    Microsoft cannot tell HP that it can’t supply Firefox. If HP tomorrow decides to bundle Firefox Microsoft should not be able to stop HP from doing so. However, they have a past history of doing such things. An example is them threatening Compaq in the pre HP merger era to not bundle QuickTime (this was in the 1990s when they tried to kill QT as mentioned because they wanted Apple to give up media playback but they were okay with Apple having content authoring at the time — they had no interest in entering content authoring but threatened to enter it and kill Apple’s content authoring business also if Apple did not give up media playback. Apple refused to be blackmailed twice (they were blackmailed by Microsoft when MS threatened to kill Mac Office in early 1990s or late 1980s if Apple didn’t license Macintosh GUI to MS to use in Windows. Apple eventually relented and then sued them for stealing their copyright but because Apple held no patents and had granted Microsoft a license Apple’s case back then was originally tossed out and MS was able to keep most of the Windows GUI intact with a few changes required of it by the courts.

    Since then Apple refused to be blackmailed again and I don’t think they have ever officially licensed technology to MS ever again. That license MS argued covers future enhancements of Macintosh GUI so they can even copy some elements of future Mac OS releases to Windows and claim it is protected by the license.

    However, Apple refused to license QuickTime to them and has not done so since then to this day and never again licensed to MS. Microsoft eventually did enter content authoring and almost succeeded in destroying Apple’s QuickTime’s content authoring business but used some unscrupulous business practices to do so. Microsoft and Intel collaborated together at one point on improving Video for Windows by stealing QuickTime code. This resulted in the QuickTime Canyon Scandal that you can read about online. I think in an earlier post I mentioned the entire story if not you can check the links I’ve posted about it and/or Google for more information on this.

    MS had decided to take away control of media playback away from QuickTime and content authoring also when Apple would not voluntarily withdraw QuickTime from Windows or license it to Microsoft. QuickTime worked better than MS’s video products because it had been written originally as a system component of the Mac System 7 operating system and utilizes Macintosh Toolbox code even when being ported to Windows they had to port that code to work on Windows effectively QT bypassed the existing graphics technologies built-in Windows to provide a superior, richer experience.

    MS almost succeeded in killing QT and discouraged most third party QuickTime content authoring software development companies to use it and instead switch to Video for Windows. Apple saved itself by purchasing Final Cut from Macromedia which was about to cancel Final Cut. Originally the content authoring features in QT were only for Mac QT and Windows QT was only capable of media playback while QT on Mac could do both provided a QuickTime Pro key was owned.

    Later when content authoring became big in Windows Apple allowed QT to do content authoring also on Windows.

    You need QuickTime Pro to make it work on either platform in the QT application.

    Even now QT provides a great user experience in Windows thanks to its Macintosh Toolbox related code and iTunes has became a great companion to QuickTime or vice versa QT has become a companion to iTunes.

  90. Michael Swanberg says:

    MP3 has become the standard, hasn’t it? I wish it were a better standard, like AAC, for instance. WMA is also supposed to be the same quality as MP3 at half the bitrate. I like the idea of cramming more music onto my iPod and iPhone without taking more space.

    Amazon recently cut a deal with Sony/BMI, so now their MP3 collection will be huge! I try to buy what I can from Amazon just for that reason (no DRM). But I have found some songs on iTunes that I couldn’t on Amazon. Hopefully that will all change.

    I think this is a great thing! The mases have spoken and “the man” has listened. We have DRM-free tracks on iTunes (although, not enough, in my opinion) and on Amazon. This is a great thing! As well, Sony (I believe it is) is putting iTunes-style (MP4) videos on their DVDs. That is an awesome step in the right direction, although I am not sure what the DRM is on these files and if they can be played outside of iTunes at all.

    Why would MS tell HP to use Intel? Is Intel paying MS? I would think that it would be Intel cutting those deals with HP, not Microsoft.

    Even so, whatever the case, AMD is doing fine, and they were actually winning for a while until those crafty Intel guys in Israel came up with the Core 2 model, which put Intel back on top.

    But I can’t say much; I have a very good friend that works for Intel, so my opinion might be unduly slanted.

    But I can say this. Of all my PCs, I have mostly Intel CPUs and 2 AMD machines. And historically, the AMD machines tend to be the most flaky. But then again, the machines I built myself also seem to be more flaky, so maybe that’s the real reason :-)

    -Mike

  91. manpan says:

    On the topic I mentioned of MS purposely telling HP to use Intel that was just an implied example I didn’t mean for it to be taken literally. However, Microsoft telling HP to not sell Windows with iTunes bundled if HP wants iTunes bundled on their computers is wrong!

    On the MP3 thing yeah its great to have DRM free MP3s until they do the same for video I’m going to stop buying video off iTunes in future rentals are fine though possibly but don’t want to buy videos with DRM anymore.

    I’ll go back to piracy to the peer 2 peer sites to download video without DRM. The day they start selling movies and TV shows without DRM on iTunes or CinemaNow.com, Vongo etc I’ll start paying for video downloads again. Until then I’m convinced if paid content must come with DRM I’ll get pirated content just because its DRM free. I can’t take the DRM anymore in video and I’m going to be driven one of these days back to piracy.

    I don’t want to be treated like a criminal by the music industry or the movie industry when I legitimately buy movies and music — they do treat customers like dirt with DRM and Sony is the worst offender I can think of save Microsoft on DRM issues.

    I am willing to pay but not willing to accept anymore DRM. I’ll be interested to read your comments and find out more of your thoughts on my latest comment in the article you posted about the Kindle about how all DRM even in iTunes for purchases should be abolished.

  92. Michael Swanberg says:

    Realize, MS isn’t telling HP, “don’t put iTunes on your PCs.” They’re telling them, “hey, if you want to continue to receive volume discounts on OEM copies of Windows and Office, you’ll stop putting iTunes on your PCs.” There’s a difference. HP makes the decision, even though they’re basically being blackmailed. Sure it’s wrong, but there is a big distinction between HP making the decision and MS making the decision for HP. MS can only pressure them because Windows is still the 800lb. gorilla. If Linux got way more popular, then HP might be able to reverse that and tell MS what would be best, or else no more Windows HPs.

    I’ve said this before, but I wish Apple would allow DRM’ed iTunes videos to be burned to DVD (in DVD format for DVD players). After all, we can burn audio tracks to CD, this is the same thing. If that were the case, I would feel a lot better because I think the DVD standard won’t go anywhere for a long time. But there is a very real possibility that Apple may decide that the electronic content business isn’t worth it and close up shop. Then all of our DRM’ed content from Apple will be worthless. I would like to know that what I buy on iTunes I can still play even if Apple is out of the picture.

    I am glad that some recording labels are seeing the benefit of no-DRM music. Hopefully the motion picture and television industries will see things the same way. After all, video files are far larger and a lot more difficult to move around the internet. Sure, it happens a lot, but there’s still a difference.

    Essentially, people want to be able to watch what they want when they want where they want. They’re willing to pay for it (most are) but they don’t want to pay and then be limited by their purchase when they can get it illegally for free and not be limited at all.

    Apple is at least trying to offer all avenues for this. You can buy from iTunes, play it on your PC, play it on your TV (via AppleTV), or take it on the road (via an iPod). The one thing they have left to do is future-proofing and then they will be golden, DRM or not.

    Removing the DRM would also solve this nit, but it’s nice to know there is the possibility of DRM’ed media being very usable.

    -Mike

  93. manpan says:

    I agree with the above post 100%. On the Microsoft blackmailing HP about bundling iTunes that’s what I meant about them discouraging HP and other computer manufacturers offering Windows from bundling the software of their choice with their computers. They should not even be able to blackmail. Since Apple has its own operating system it doesn’t have to be worried about this type of blackmail happening to it by Microsoft although MS did blackmail Apple once into licensing the original Mac OS GUI to Microsoft for Windows and in return MS would continue Mac Office.

  94. manpan says:

    On the DRM issue I also agree that videos bought on iTunes and burnt to DVD should also be able to be played on a DVD Player.

  95. manpan says:

    If Apple allowed iTunes purchased videos with DRM to be burnt to DVDs for playback in a DVD Player that would defeat the need for Apple TV. Apple is providing Apple TV as a way to get iTunes videos with DRM onto the television.

  96. Michael Swanberg says:

    I can only somewhat agree with your last statement. You are correct that it obviates AppleTV somewhat. But remember, AppleTV is also for music, and iTunes lets you create audio CDs.

    And creating standard DVDs is a great way of not only backing up content but also future-proofing your collection.

    What would be even better, perhaps, would be to have a DVD burner in (or attached to, for instance, via USB) the AppleTV so that you could archive your purchased content (without having to have a Mac or PC). And it would also make the AppleTV act as a sort of DVD player (which it could act as a standard DVD player too) for your FairPlay content.

    I think I’m not explaining that very well. I think it would be cool if Apple created an external DVD burner (like the one for the Macbook Air) that could connect to the AppleTV. Then, when your AppleTV drive starts to get full, you can burn your .M4V files to DVD for archival and then clean up your AppleTV hard drive.

    Then later, you could always put that disc back into the AppleTV drive and it would either play the content straight from the disc or else at least be able to copy it back to the hard drive for playback.

    This can all be done now, of course, but you need a Mac or PC to do it. As well, as a means of future-proofing your content, as long as you have the AppleTV (computers come and go, let’s face it, as does the software on them) you have the means for playing your content, no matter how far in the future it is. But for that to be the best solution, it would need a DVD burner of its own.

    Just a thought.

    But in the end, I guess what I’m describing is a Mac Mini. Too bad they’re so much more expensive than an AppleTV.

    Plus, Apple should update the Frontrow interface so that we can use the remote to order/purchase/download iTunes content.

    -Mike

  97. manpan says:

    Apple has updated the Front Row interface on Apple TV to use Apple Remote to purchase/download iTunes content using Apple TV. The software update for Apple TV allows decoupling of Apple TV from the computer you don’t need to sync to Apple TV now you can sync from Apple TV. Buy what you want using Apple TV and an Internet connection plus method of payment for iTunes Store set up the files will download to Apple TV from iTunes Store and then can be synced to the computer’s iTunes library. Yeah it is sad the Mac Mini is much more expensive than Apple TV. I’m actually typing this using my Mac Mini and it is working great for me.

    Your right about me being half right in my last statement about DVD burning of iTunes videos for a DVD Player defeating the need of Apple TV. It does somewhat get rid of the need but Apple TV could still sell anyways on its own merits with continued improvements. Having an external DVD Burner for Apple TV like the MacBook Air has would be cool.

    If you have Apple TV and get the newest update you can as I said above use the Apple remote to order/purchase/rent and download iTunes content. HD movies can be rented from iTunes Store only via Apple TV. HD movies thru iTunes are available but only if you buy them on Apple TV they are unavailable from the computer — standard def movies are available on computer thru iTunes though for both rent and purchase.

  98. Michael Swanberg says:

    I was talking about renting/buying using the remote on the Mac Mini in hopes of not having to get an AppleTV. And also not having to have a wireless keyboard and mouse so that I can use the Mac Mini from the couch.

    But I guess the best solution to all of this is to just get an AppleTV. I sometimes like to watch shows and movies at my desk, so moving the Mac Mini to my TV wouldn’t be the best idea.

    Heck, I may get an AppleTV on the way home today! :-)

    -Mike

  99. manpan says:

    That’s cool! I think Mac Minis should be compatible with (at least some if not all) wireless keyboards. You would just have to find one that can work well with a Mac Mini. A wireless mouse may be a little trickier but not impossible — I’m sure there are wireless mice available that can be used with Mac Mini. As for using Apple Remote to buy from the iTunes Store on Mac Mini — that’s an interesting theory but dunno about that it depends on Apple if their willing to consider/allow it. At least this is possible with Apple TV. On Mac Mini like all Macs and Windows PCs with iTunes you have to actually launch iTunes Store and buy directly through the application using keyboard and mouse.

    Let me know if you really did it? Or are doing it soon! I plan to buy one as soon as I get a High Definition Television. I’m interested in a plasma display. Dunno what manufacturer I’ll get it from — will have to find the best deal possible to me.

  100. maneeshpan says:

    Going back to the bundling issue in Windows I’d like to add it wasn’t just Microsoft’s bundling of IE with Windows that hurt Netscape but Microsoft deliberately coded Windows to break the Netscape web browser when Netscape was still at its height — do you remember after IE was made and bundled that suddenly Netscape would keep crashing and errors would come up saying this program has performed an illegal operation.

    At least in Windows 98 that barely happened for IE but every time Netscape was launched it crashed because MS designed Windows to cause compatibility errors with the Netscape browser. Microsoft also released a Mac version of IE and got Apple to bundle it to choke Netscape’s cross platform browser business. Once Netscape was no longer a viable threat Microsoft discontinued issuing major updates of IE for Mac but they kept the Mac version available till Apple made Safari. Apple made Safari to replace the lagging IE for Mac — the Mac needed a good web browser and Microsoft was not updating Mac IE past IE 5.2.3 so Apple released Safari on the Mac and Microsoft used that as an excuse to ditch IE for Mac completely.

    Apple ultimately released a version of Safari for Windows which is interesting!

  101. manpan says:

    The above post by user maneeshpan was me again — I didn’t realize I changed the username I was already using for all my comments in the last post I made to maneeshpan. This is still being posted by manpan.

  102. Michael Swanberg says:

    Apple puts out a wireless keyboard that would be great for the Mac Mini to be used as a media center. Kind of expensive, though. And no mouse.

    I’d had this great idea about a media center keyboard. Archos’ remote controls have a full keyboard in a very small size, like a cellphone keyboard. I thought it would be great to have one that also has media controls (play, pause, fast forward, etc.) as well as a small mouse trackball. Well, Logitech did it! The diNovo Mini. That might be a perfect item to have for a Media Center computer. I wonder if it will work with the Mac. It doesn’t say that it will (Windows only) but maybe a Mac driver will come out soon.

    As for IE, yes, we’ve all heard the mantra “Windows ain’t done til Netscape won’t run.” I am somewhat dichotomous on this point. Sure, it’s hardly fair and very anticompetitive to make your product purposely incompatible with another company’s. But MS hasn’t done this in years, have they?

    However, there is another side to that. It is, after all, Microsoft’s OS. If Netscape wants to have an OS that’s compatible, they’re welcome to create their own.

    See, no one who owned, say, a Ford would claim anticompetitive practices if a part for Chevy cars doesn’t work in their Ford. So too is the nature of an operating system.

    Microsoft has been too successful in saturating the market with Windows. So successful that they’ve had to invest in Apple to keep it afloat. MS needs OSX and Linux to be viable alternatives to prevent becoming a monopoly. Otherwise, if Windows were the only game in town, then pretty much anything they do will be anticompetitive.

    But still, they’re being punished for their success. How fair is that?

    -Mike

  103. manpan says:

    A good case in point — even about the Netscape thing but you lost me at Netscape making its own operating system — Windows is the dominant OS and there are enough operating systems already on the market the more operating systems the more confusion for consumers — sometimes more choice is good for the consumer but too much more choice is a bad thing.

    Even if Netscape made their own OS Windows is the dominant OS and Netscape is/was a browser a company. They made a cross platform web browser. So if Microsoft tried to make Real Player purposely incompatible with Windows for Real to make its own OS doesn’t solve anything — wait Microsoft did try to kill RealNetworks but mainly via bundling alone — Microsoft is limiting the market for Windows software to Microsoft only software. If Netscape made their own OS and pulled their browser off Windows but continued it for other platforms that would have still made IE the only Windows browser. Today there are lots of choices in web browsers but during the 1990s IE and Netscape were the only two.

    For Microsoft to purposely stop Netscape from working to discourage its use and then via bundling of IE and making IE run well they force users to run IE by telling them that’s your only option in Windows for browsing the web there is no other browsers and that restricts choice to a Microsoft only browser.

    It didn’t help consumers when Microsoft did this and the idea that Netscape would create its own OS then does everyone have to switch to a Netscape OS to run Netscape browser? Shouldn’t everyone be able to use it when its offered if they want? Also I’m quite sure Microsoft would have reacted to a Netscape OS with even more hostility and using blackmail, coercion and other means discourage PC vendors from installing OEM copies of a Netscape OS so consumers couldn’t buy a new computer bundled with Netscape OS — its important to note Microsoft gets most of its revenue thru sales of new computers preloaded with Windows as opposed to retail copies — Microsoft killed BeOS — if you need more info on how this happens and the complaint Be Inc filed against them for ruining its business you
    can Google Be v Microsoft etc.

    Microsoft was making products for the Mac even when Steve Jobs was out of Apple — Microsoft just expanded its Macintosh software efforts after the 1997 agreement was reached and reaffirmed its commitment — I don’t know if you know this but in 1996 they were offering a version of Office for Mac back then even. They have always made products for Mac — in fact the very first version of Office ever was made for Mac before appearing on Windows ultimately Microsoft just started making Windows to Mac ports of Office but were met with complaints that Mac users wanted a more Mac like application and Microsoft started working on developing Office for Mac from the ground up using Mac interfaces.

    The comment about Microsoft being unfairly punished for success when they are not doing anything wrong though is justifiable. What about Apple’s Mighty Mouse? Is that not wireless?

    All the peripherals for my Mac Mini are standard PC peripherals. I have a regular USB Microsoft keyboard lying around that works with Mac Mini (but am not using it because it won’t work with my BELKIN KVM Switch — I had to use an older keyboard that works with my KVM Switch with my Mac Mini but have tested the newer Microsoft keyboard and if it wasn’t for incompatibilities with my KVM Switch the Microsoft keyboard otherwise works just fine — it too is Mac compatible.

    I did not have to install any drivers for my Microsoft keyboard when I did use that with Mac Mini or any drivers for my current (older) keyboard in use nor did I need to install Mac drivers for my USB mouse. I just plug everything in to my Mac Mini and it works automatically.

  104. Michael Swanberg says:

    You’ve taken me too literally. I wasn’t suggesting that Netscape create their own OS. I was merely illustrating that they do have a possible avenue open to them to prevent Microsoft from making their browser not work. They could create their own OS and Microsoft couldn’t do a thing about it.

    My point is that Microsoft didn’t create Windows so that other companies could benefit and profit. They created it to make money for themselves. As such, it shouldn’t be Microsoft’s main job to ensure other company’s profitability. As well, they created the OS, so they should be able to reap some benefits from that (as long as those benefits aren’t predatory).

    As to your “confused consumers” idea, I have to say nay nay. Currently there are 2 main OS groups in the beige-box space: Windows and Linux (in a variety of flavors). OSX doesn’t count since that’s tied to hardware (i.e. your hardware choice dictates your OS choice with Mac). But there are many browsers out there.

    So, why would you think that a reduction in browsers (i.e. making IE dominant and perhaps the only browser) is bad, but an increase to 3 or more OS choices is also bad. If more than 2 OSes will confuse consumers, then why wouldn’t they be confused about 10 or more browsers? As well, there are many flavors of Windows out there… if they’re not totally confused by that, then one more OS in the world shouldn’t put them over the edge.

    See, the point is that the average consumer doesn’t know and doesn’t care. They use Windows because that’s what came on the machine. They wouldn’t care as long as they can do the things they want to do, like surfing, write emails, etc. In fact, I would wager that the average consumer wouldn’t really see the difference between Windows and other OSes, unless and until they can’t get at their favorite websites or get their email.

    This is why IE dominates. The average user isn’t aware of alternatives, or else they don’t care. IE is there, so that’s what they use. Heck, the average computer user these days just calls it “the blue ‘e’”. They’re just not sophisticated in this realm.

    In the end, I believe choice is good. And in the realm of the modern OS, there’s not a lot of difference unless you are into programming or gaming. I can email from a Mac to someone who uses a PC. They can email from their PC to my Linux machine. In the end, the OS doesn’t matter to 95% of what people use computers for.

    To me, the issue is the security. The average user doesn’t realize that they are not safe, and then my tubes get clogged with spam and DDoS traffic and worms propagating themselves. IE has been proven to be a big gateway for hackers to corrupt machines. This is the only reason I see that it shouldn’t be used as much as it is. But as for the usability, well it works fine. I have no problem with it on that front. And I certainly don’t care what other people use for browsing the web (as long as it doesn’t affect me).

    All I am saying is, let’s give credit where it’s due, while also identifying the real problems. Simply jumping on the anti-Microsoft bandwagon isn’t helping things at all.

    -Mike

  105. manpan says:

    I wouldn’t want too many web browsers either that causes too much confusion in the browser market — anymore than I do in operating systems but I don’t want the number of available browsers too limited either anymore than I want for operating systems.

    I’m just saying in any market there should not be too many products to confuse consumers but there should be enough products to give them some choice. If Windows was the only operating system that would be bad for all consumers. It is a good thing there are other choices like running Linux, Sun’s Solaris, systems like NetBSD, FreeBSD, Mac OS X on Macintosh computers etc but I would not want too many operating systems overall that causes too much confusion — same goes with web browsers and other markets.

  106. Michael Swanberg says:

    There is some truth to what you say. But the more choice there is, the more seriously consumers will take it. Think about cars. There are tons of choices, but consumers seem to do okay there. They just do their research. Same should go for OSes and other software.

    As well, with lots of options comes innovation, which then propels the industry.

    -Mike

  107. manpan says:

    That is a good point. By the way I just found an interesting article with the same title “Apple vs. Microsoft” but on a different website. http://newsnet.byu.edu/story.cfm/67187

    The content of the article is different though I just thought it was interesting — am reading it now as soon as I post this comment.

  108. Michael Swanberg says:

    An interesting article, although it didn’t really say anything more than “Mac owners like Macs, and PC owners like PCs.”

    Well, duh. :-)

    The comment about not being able to do something on a Mac is just because the user is an idiot was way off-base. There are tons of applications that are, thus far, PC-only. But I think that Macs have made enough of an inroad into the computer-using lifestyle that we will see fewer and fewer applications that are only for PCs.

    Like I’ve said before, I enjoy both for different reasons. Some things I do on a Mac (rip DVDs, use iTunes, keep my photos, play movies and podcasts) and some things I do on PCs (file servers, email server, web and FTP servers, record television, backup nexus, Office apps, play games).

    -Mike

  109. manpan says:

    For Windows related tasks do you use a second computer (well a PC and a Mac separately) or do you run Windows on your Mac via Boot Camp and dual boot between the 2 OSes or use virtualization to run 1 OS on top of the other?

    Your right by the way I don’t agree either with that other article’s statements — like someone not being able to do something on a Mac because the user is an idiot is indeed a ridiculous claim.

    I was just sharing an article I was reading. what do you think of Amazon.com buying Audible? I just found an article saying Amazon buys Audible (Too bad it wasn’t Apple”)

    http://blogs.computerworld.com/amazon_buys_audible_too_bad_it_wasnt_apple

  110. manpan says:

    Particularly with the Linux operating system there are so many distributions of Linux — since its open source that it can confuse desktop users considering switching to Linux — they’ll ask what’s the best distro I should use? What’s the difference between using Ubuntu Linux versus Linspire or Kbuntu? or even Gnome? Or Mandrake? They know there is only 1 distro of Windows although various versions of the OS have been released in recent years — there is just 1 distributor Microsoft. For Macintosh there is 1 distributor in that case also and that is Apple.

    Windows can be run on all sorts of hardware provided its x86 based (Intel, AMD etc although some IBM PCs have run Windows and continue to do so today — these aren’t computers with IBM chips but just PCs by IBM that may still have an Intel or AMD microprocessor) from various manufacturers (think HP,, Dell, Gateway (now owned by Acer), Acer, Sony, Toshiba, Lenovo, Intel, IBM etc) whereas Mac OS X is restricted to Apple only branded computers using hardware of Apple’s choice.

    Then there is Sun’s Solaris which can run on different configurations as well and on top of that FreeBSD, the now defunct BeOS (that’s rumored to still be in development but under another name), NetBSD etc. There are mobile OSes from Palm, Symbian, Microsoft and now even Apple. Smartphones running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile software, the Palm OS software and Symbian software, Nokia and Motorola based phones as well as Blackberry phones and even iPhones by Apple (with iPhones running a mobile Mac OS — that iPod Touch also uses) at some point it gets too confusing to keep up with the various features each company offers in their products.

    For consumers that want to migrate away from Windows but keep their PCs that need a good desktop OS — unless they switch to a Mac computer the next best choice is Linux but on the desktop Linux has not been that successful to date and there are too many distros to choose from. I wish a good OS alternative to both Windows and Mac OS would emerge for the desktop users that want to dump Windows but keep their PC (i.e. not switch to Mac) which does not have too many distros — just 1 OS that may have newly released versions or updates at least every few years — if not once a year.

  111. Michael Swanberg says:

    Exactly, so you see my point. With all of those OSes out there today, what’s one more?

    I have many setups in my place. I have no fewer than 7 Windows PCs (one running Vista Home Premium). I also have one Linux box (Ubuntu, even though that PC won’t boot right now) and 2 Macs (Mini and 15″ Macbook Pro). I have the Macbook set to dual-boot between Tiger and Vista Ultimate and also use Parallels (an awesome product) to access the Vista partition when I don’t need to give Windows the whole machine.

    Well, actually that’s not true. The Macbook was my mobile gaming platform, which I used the Windows partition for. But since I am not traveling anymore, I got a new computer for gaming (the Vista Home Premium machine). So I took the Vista partition off the Macbook.

    Which wasn’t easy. Boot Camp is now no longer a free beta, so they are charging for it, which means I couldn’t use it to restore the entire drive to OSX. I couldn’t find my OSX CD (man, my place is a mess) and even so I think I would have had to destroy the OSX partition to resize it.

    So I used RSYNCX to copy the OSX partition to an external drive. Then I rebooted onto that drive (you can’t partition the drive that’s running the OSX that’s in memory) so that I could repartition the main drive. I did that and then used RSYNCX to copy the system back to the main drive. Worked like a champ.

    I may use the Macbook Pro as my night-time TV watching computer (just before bed) since I can stream anything from my Mac Mini wirelessly. It would also be a great place to have it for any last-minute surfing I do before going to sleep.

    As for Amazon buying Audible… well, I don’t have an opinion on that just now. I don’t use Audible, although I hear it’s a great place to get audio books. But I have plenty of stuff to listen to — podcasts and music — as well as plenty of content to watch — podcasts and TV and movies — so I really don’t need MORE content to consume.

    My bet is that Audible will be available on the Kindle soon, if it isn’t already. I do hope, however, that they don’t remove iPods/iTunes as viable Audible content players.

    -Mike

  112. boonhong says:

    There are just too much to read here! Overall, I can agreed with what Michael had said. I have 3 PCs and 2 Macs and have over 10 years of experience using both. I’m both a programmer (PC user) and designer (Mac user). My personal experience is this:

    10 years ago, Win98 with Intel Chip is cheaper, faster and can do far more (both hardware and software) than MacOS9 with PowerPC chip. There are plenty of hardware addon for PC, but virtually nothing for Mac. There are plenty of software, especially quality freewares for PC. For Mac, every software cost money and it’s not just shareware price-range. It’s expensive and often far less capable than those for Windows that cost next to nothing! It was a frustrating experience to try to do anything else on a Mac beside standard design work using Adobe and Macromedia software. The only advantage is stability and good quality display.

    For MacOSX, it cut all ties with MacOS9. It’s a completely new OS that don’t have to remain compatible with the old inefficient and buggy codes.

    It’s a miracle that Windows works because there are just too much hardware to support. Not to mention that it has to be remain compatible with MS DOS, containing codes that are almost 30 years old. Windows is really a mess for programmers to build on.

    Today, MacOSX has plenty of freewares, as good as Windows. More support from hardware manufacturers. Well detailed and stable design, with hardware and software complementing one another. Now with the ability to also run Windows, I will get a Mac if that’s the only computer I could buy.

    Microsoft used to compromise too much security for convenient sake. Today they have complete done the reversed. Vista compromise too much of convenient for security sake. It’s a frustration just to click approval of permissions for every little things I do. I wrote a very bias review about Vista here (so don’t read it if you can’t take my bias) : http://bhwong.multiply.com/reviews/item/44

    Cheers,
    Boon Hong.

  113. manpan says:

    For existing Mac users with the older PowerPC based Macs — myself included with the PowerBook G4 laptop I have (dunno if Tiger still has compatibility with OS 9 Classic Environment on PPC) but with the existing OS software Mac OS X Panther installed on the PB (I know its a few years old) and is still capable of running the Mac OS 9 Classic Environment — I just don’t use it because I don’t need it anyways — a lot of people who ran OS 9 have upgraded their Mac peripherals and software to run on OS X and have transitioned completely to OS X. Since Apple ported Mac OS X Tiger to Intel the newer Macs are incapable of running the OS 9 Classic Environment but they don’t need to anyways. They run Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard. Leopard is if I recall correctly only compatible with the Intel Macs although the Tiger OS was released for both PPC and Intel based Mac hardware.

  114. Q says:

    Antitrust is simple to understand. Try update your windows using opera, or try update creative labs software using opera. It cannot be done due to lock in. There are many sites that wont load in Opera. These functionsshould be able to be performed irrespective of browser. Hence antitrust!

    Microsoft have abused their position.

    Not enough has been done to stop them.

    And Linux is best :D

  115. Michael Swanberg says:

    Your comment is extremely short-sighted.

    Windows update needs to update… Windows! Which is the operating system, or the heart of the machine. As such, any update system needs to be able to update those components. But it also needs to protect against just any-ol’ piece of software from altering those core components.

    IE allows the installation of ActiveX components to facilitate this. Unfortunately, as cool a technology as ActiveX is, the bad guys have corrupted its use for evil purposes. This is why Opera, and Firefox, and other browsers REFUSE to allow ActiveX to be a part of their browsers. This wasn’t Microsoft’s decision. They didn’t write Opera or Firefox.

    As well, pretend you’re Microsoft. If you allow a technology that can corrupt anyone’s OS into the wild, how large would your support staff have to be to handle all the calls?

    For sites that won’t load in some browsers, that is the function of the website’s designer and coder. This isn’t something that Microsoft did.

    Microsoft has, however, decided that IE will be standards-compliant in some areas, but in others they seem to have decided that they know better than the W3C. This makes it really difficult for site designers to make websites that work on all browsers. Microsoft should be chided for this. It’s not anticompetitive, in my opinion, but it is going against what is most likely best for everyone.

    I don’t mind IE doing more… but it should do everything that the other browsers do in exactly the same way.

    -Mike

  116. manpan says:

    Mike,

    I recently read a column on the letters and blogs section of the Guardian website (http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2008/may/22/5) about Apple and buyer’s rights. I couldn’t agree more with some of the statements:

    Statement 1) As long as the purchased content is DRM-free, I couldn’t care less what other services they might offer with DRM’d content, and I would still caution anyone thinking of using them of the limitations of DRM (How Apple is changing DRM, May 15). If the price for the DRM’d service reflects its much lower value due to the DRM, then maybe it’s a nice alternative. I’ll reserve judgment until something tangible is shown. — a logical statement by username p812.com/tire

    Statement 2) It’s looking more and more like analysts may be worrying too much about DRM, and not enough about whether music services were actually useful to customers. Apple’s iTunes store rose to prominence despite selling DRM’d music, and it’s grown even more dominant as competitors have started selling non-DRM’d music. If the market demonstrates that there’s an interest in subscription music services, Apple’s likely to dominate the market with its own DRM’d offering. from podcastingnews.com

    Statement 3) THIS ONE I AGREE WITH WHOLEHEARTEDLY — Microsoft is one of the largest sellers of DRM technology and has screwed it up badly. Microsoft purposely killed off Windows Media Player for the Mac in an attempt to lock out Macs and iPods from Microsoft’s DRM as if they were the market leader. Making their own DRM not compatible with the iPod has proved to be a bad move. By reelsmart.com

    Microsoft released a universal DRM under Plays for Sure (formerly called Janus if I’m not mistaken) they used it for both online video and music (download to own video stores using Microsoft DRM include Blockbuster’s MovieLink and the independent CinemaNow.com website. Microsoft’s own MSN Music Store that is now defunct, and all music download stores still selling Plays for Sure music are proprietors of the Microsoft Plays for Sure DRM (and have been in the past — some have stopped like Microsoft’s MSN Music Store only to be replaced by the more proprietary Zune). Microsoft restricted Plays for Sure purchases to working only on computers running their Windows operating system. Otherwise purchases could play on any mp3 player device of the consumer’s choosing other than the iPod — most mp3 players have had licensing done to support Plays for Sure.

    I saw your recent post about Microsoft shuttering MSN Music servers this August after which point anyone wanting to reauthorize their music for playback or deauthorizing an existing computer to authorize a new one will be unable to do so.

    Microsoft won’t even allow the Zune player to play Plays for Sure protected tracks. The only DRM system that works with Zune is Zune DRM. So the music from Zune store can only work with 1 device the Zune just like protected content from iTunes Store only works with iPods, iPhones and Apple TVs.

    At the least Microsoft should allow anyone who bought Plays for Sure protected music from MSN Music Store re-download their music from the Zune Store completely free if they choose to get a Zune player.

  117. nevets says:

    Im still in the nubie phase learning all I can about apple-mac.
    I’ve grown so very tired of windows and those would be engineers who are always trying to fix something that isn’t broken,while ignoring known leaks.
    Im also extremely up to here with their distrust of their users,and their greed at microsoft.
    So as far as I can tell there is no comparing of the two apple mac are superior.

  118. Michael Swanberg says:

    Well, it sounds like you’re making a judgment call between Microsoft and Apple, as companies. But what about Apple’s handling of the App Store and their denial of the Google Voice app? It sounds to me like they’re in pretty deep anti-competitive territory here… which is a very Microsoft place to be, no?

    -Mike


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