Jan 112008

I have been in the software industry long enough to see at least its third “repeat” of the fall of a major Roman Empire…

1. IBM Mainframes losing mind share and market share to Novell and Microsoft DOS
PC’s became servers and more agile and friendly than mainframes for the typical user
Do you remember Token Ring and the first Ethernet Cards?

Mainframes began losing their clients that where using good old peer-to-peer networks with DOS and netbui over SNA/3270 on token ring to access Mainframe resources and applications were replaced with Lotus 123 and Wordperfect on DOS clients using a Novell login and Netware 286 file and print servers.

Ah the smell of a freshly gen’d Novell 286 File Server OS (50 floppies, with one or two always bad) and a compsurf’d 160meg hard drive (after 2 days)… mmm tasty. Cost of 50 users for Netware 286 was about 3K vs $$$ for LU on a mainframe to do word processing.. Easy sell, but no real TCO numbers. It was just up a running and no major project to get past MIS and the data gods.

2. Novell Netware losing mind share and market share to Microsoft NT(File and Print Servers became Application and Web Servers with File, Print and authentication all included without the 48 hour compsurf, 50 floppies to gen the OS)

Do you remember Netware 4.x? AD and NCP not DNS and TCP/IP (although it had it)
Novell shipped a very buggy, slow, required lots of new education and disliked license scheme with 4.0… Needless to say Windows NT 3.5/4.0 came onto the scene with a vengeance. You couldn’t buy good old Netware 386 1000 user, or even 10 user, you had to get 4.x and you didn’t have downgrade rights.. At that time, it was like seeing Ashton/Tate ruin Dbase III with the DBASE IV’s bloat and bugs and license floppy… I was a Novell Gold Reseller at the time…. Then I became a Microsoft Reseller, well sort of, CDW was selling everything cheaper, so I really became a MCSE/CNE/Consultant/Developer instead of a VAR/VAD as the services of conversion where needed most and also the most profitable.

Is this all sounding familiar? Bloat, Bugs, Changed the familar aka new education, new license scheme not well received, a new new thing not as good as the previous version and runny SLOW and BUGGY?

3. Microsoft Vista loses to Microsoft XP/MAC OS/Linux, take your pick.
I am saddened, but must be realistic. This has been a failing for me in the past as I have always been a bit of an Evangelist. I really get behind the products I use and sell as I believe them to be the “best” at the moment. I can’t get behind Vista this way. It has nice qualities, but in general the OS I was shown at the Microsoft Company Meeting in 2003 is still MIA. I am glad Bill G is retiring to work on his and Melinda’s foundation, the world does need his assistance and his insight in those areas. Now if SteveB will get a clue before all that proprietary code is as valuable as Netware is for the existing Novell share holders, this may not be the fall of the Microsoft Empire, might not be…. I can hope can’t I?

Most of today’s users are Web Browser centric users. Most the apps are web based, email, banking, community, accounting, LOB or will/could be.

So what does IE 7 on Vista give me that IE 7 on XP with windows desktop search doesn’t? Oh yeah, the extra speed-NOT, the bloat/bugs, the where the heck is this now frustration. Looks pretty though…..

Okay, so then what does it do over Safari on MAC, or Firefox on XP, MAC or Linux?

I think I have found a question worthy of research. I will post my results. Of course I will research what others have done first, only prudent.

I might find new business opportunities:

1. Closed Networks for LOB apps (no worries concerning virus, malware, trojans and loss of speed for McAffee/Symantec apps) Was this a mainframe?

2. Vista to XP/MAC/Linux conversions (upgrades? eh gads)

3. Online Apps Only – No PC apps (read Office/Outlook) just use online apps completely aka Web Server Hosted, Email Hosted, Google, LinkedIn, Salesforce, this could be interesting. Was this AOL/Compuserve?

But maybe, like with the other Roman Empire that fell, it is the quest that creates the problem. If you make me, the customer look, I will find something worth looking at, and maybe I won’t come back for a while or at all.

I have left out 123 vs Excel, Wordperfect vs Word, Netscape vs IE, Borland vs Microsoft, Telco Dial-up vs Cable Broadband, Internet vs AOL/Compuserve and many more to numerous to list here.

There are many, many more stories like this out there about the rise and fall of companies, their products and clients, and I am sure the story will go on.

I have noticed a trend of more character based dispays on nice flat LCD’s. Must be the TCO or ease of something, not as pretty, but I have a feeling that the accountants and shareholders like the dollars on the bottom line.

Also, part of my new years resolution, I will be more “scientific” about my technology, if it works well, is cost effective, hits the mark, then I will use it, regardless of the Brand Name.