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Boring Microsoft

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Whatever happened to the Microsoft we used to know? As I was graduating from college eons ago, it was anyone's dream to work there. This was a nimble, forward-looking, cutting edge place, cranking out one great product after another. It had the power, the glory, the money, and Bill Gates.

Gates is still there, but somehow Microsoft isn't quite what it used to be. Yes, they still make decent products, and they're sitting on a pile of cash that gets bigger every year, but somehow this isn't the same company it once was.

What ticks me off about Microsoft is how paranoid they've become. Maybe it's not their fault. Maybe theyโ€™re afraid of lawsuits, but they seem to be operating in panic mode these days.

One irritating manifestation is the spate of fixes they dispatch on the wire and force PC's to auto-reboot. It angers me to no end when I arrive at my desk and see my PC rebooted because some guy in Redmond decided to ram a patch down its throat. Whatever happened to the claim Windows XP and 2003 won't need so many reboots? Even more irritating is their approach to protecting PC's against possible threats. Suddenly my programs stop working because some new patch has decided to block foreign programs from accessing the PC's resources.

The panic is obvious. Each time after a new vulnerability is discovered, the programmers just hard-code zealous protection into the products and ship it out. Seems like little thought is given to how many programs and utilities these actions would cripple.

The new cool products like .NET 2.0 and SQL Server 2005 they just released, and Vista on the way, are proof that Microsoft is still alive and well. But looking at their stock that's been stuck in a rut for years, one gets a feeling that alive and well no longer mean exciting.
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