Microsoft: the reboot company

Brief by Central Staff

Computers – June 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

Most complaints against Microsoft — at least those that end up in court — allege that the software giant impedes competition by including features “for free” that other companies had been selling. Thus Netscape sued over Micro soft’s Internet Explorer web brow ser, and in Europe, the Real Player folks brought similar action over the Microsoft Media Player.

We just got a new computer for laying out the magazine (now that we’re using more color, we needed more horsepower), and it came with Windows XP; the previous machine had run Windows 98.

(Note that on his own computer, Ed runs Linux, which he enjoys because he has attitude problems. Also, he can’t remember the last time it locked up or crashed.)

Alas, Windows 98 had features that aren’t in XP, which is supposed to be an upgrade. For instance, XP’s command processor doesn’t offer any way to list directories in the old format, which means a host of Colorado Central’s utility programs for text format conversions had to be rewritten.

Further, XP Home doesn’t do Samba, a program which allows Windows machines to connect to Linux machines — something that was relatively simple to do under 98.

So there are a couple of features Microsoft could have “added” to XP, and we wouldn’t have complained.

Windows XP is also supposed to be “13 times more reliable” than Windows 98. We don’t keep records of such things, but when we’re using the XP machine, we reach for the reset button once or twice a day because it has locked up — about the same as under Windows 98.

If this keeps up, then someday we may start listening to those folks who tell us that we really should be using Apple Macintoshes for graphics and publishing.