Much has been written about the way in which the Seattle-based empire has tightened its grip on home and business users alike. The company is yet to achieve the stone-carved edict dictating that all homes and offices must use Microsoft software, but it is probably not that far off.
A monopoly of this sort would be considered an extremely dangerous development in any other sector. But, in the world of computers, Microsoft continues to provide cost-effective and innovative solutions, so who cares how big it is? Oracle, Netscape, Sun and Novell do.
Indeed, Larry Ellison, Jim Barksdale, Scott McNealy and Eric Schmidt, the respective bosses of those organisations, have formed a holy alliance against the Microsoft monster. But the union?s firepower, the Network Computer (NC) and Java solutions, are being aimed at a public which has only ever had one choice.
Meanwhile, Gates sounded bullish in the recent TV interview, refusing to believe that the standalone PC is on the way out. ?The PC has provided all the innovation and all the solutions in the past. That?s going to continue,? he predicted.
What effect will this alliance have on business users? We believe, in the short term, very little. The union must get the technology right, but it also has to marshal its marketing efforts to ensure that the NC philosophy is successfully communicated. And, as it does this, Microsoft will continue to provide cost-effective and solid solutions ? Gates has no intention of becoming a sitting duck.
The union cannot challenge Microsoft effectively on the pure software platform, so has decided to re-invent the wheel and offer users a radical solution. There may be one immediate effect of the NC effort. Microsoft may have to channel resources into defending its customer base or into developing its NetPC. So, you may have had cost-effective solutions from Gates before, but that situation might change.
The Gates interview was telling. In the past, he has come across as nerdish, though controlled. On his latest showing he looked somewhat ruffled and not a little concerned. Watch his moods closely ? they could have a direct effect on the future of your desktop.
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