I don’t think we have to like MS or their products (and certainly not their monopoly status) to understand how much of an impact that they had on modern computing/software production.
Double o, please…
(and: fixed above)
From the early 80’s to about 2000 their impact was pretty intense: they essentially brought all significant development in personal computing to a standstill…
My objection is to Microsoft being called “one of the world’s most innovative companies.”
One innovation does not deserve that title.
I do think it’s worth noting the impact that MS had on computing, though. That doesn’t mitigate their role as a monopoly putting out shitty software, of course, and I don’t think anyone is suggesting that.
You forgot his contribution to KEXP (www.kexp.org), monumentally important to music.
Let us not forget that this man of science found it important that the Republicans remain in control of the House of Representatives during the Trump administration by donating $100K to that effort. https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2018/09/04/paul-allen-protect-house-gop-donation-amzn-msft.html
While at Lakeside School, Paul meets Bill Gates. A friendship that would later produce one of the world’s most innovative companies, Microsoft.
One of the world’s most profitable companies, certainly. Innovative is pushing the limits of semantics.
Yes, I have still have to deal with this ‘impact’ even when I don’t run their products. And you can be sure I curse them every day.
So Gates and Allen were thinly disguised characters in Ready Player One, but Gates died first in that story.
Was Allen was the inspiration for the giant wired house with the jet hanging from the ceiling in Cryptonomicon (?).
I’m not a fan of MS, but to ignore their impact on the larger landscape of software production is myopic and ahistorical. An impact doesn’t have to be a positive one to be an impact.
Sure. But equally I’m not rushing to advocate for laudatory poems to be composed for Cromwell or Hitler, despite their undeniably large impact on the history of Western civilisation.
And I stand by my statement that Microsoft has not been innovative in the realm of technology. In the realms of monopolistic business practices and extortion and bribery, they have set new standards. But not in technology.
Acknowledging the role that MS played in the development of computing isn’t writing laudatory poems, it’s understanding historical processes.
It’s a bit hyperbolic to compare MS to Cromwell or Hitler, too.
Rest in peace.
Indeed. Hyperbole is often used to make points clearer. And the amount of money Microsoft has extracted and the suppression of development due to Microsoft lock-in may not quite be in Roundhead-proportions, but it’s certainly not insignificant. (And there are plenty of laudatory proto-poems appearing here and elsewhere.)
Anyway, I’ll redirect attention to my main point, which has no metaphorical paths to get lost in: Microsoft has contributed nearly 0 to actual technological development. They’ve always taken (by hook or by crook) existing technologies and monetised them.
No, it’s employed to muddle reality. MS is not responsible for a genocide, so it’s not a useful bit of hyperbole in the least. If you’d compare MS to, say the robber barons and monopolist, then you’d have something worth comparing, that has some historical relevance. As a historian, I’m all for apt comparisions, comparing MS to HITLER is invoking Godwin’s law just as he meant it. It’s useless hyperbole that indicates that one person cares much more about ending the discussion than actually engaging in it…
Fine. Then I disavow all comparison and (apparently) distasteful metaphor, and re-iterate my main point once again:
Microsoft have not advanced technological development, if anything they have greatly hindered it due to various unsavoury tactics, including bribery and extortion. If you appreciate their ‘cleverness’ in such business techniques, then they can be lauded for these, but not for their imaginary contributions to technology.
I don’t think we’d have the modern software landscape without MS. I don’t think that’s beyond the pale to mention. Not acknowledging that is like saying that IBM played no important role hardware development.
It’s certainly critical to mention that they were/are monopolistic and limiting to software developments. Same with IBM with regards to hardware.
I agree about IBM, but not about Microsoft. Do you forget how many competitors there used to be in the computing space? Commodore, Atari, Sinclair, Micro, Apple, etc. What specific software innovations or software distribution innovations or non-business innovations of any sort can one point to that Microsoft pioneered ? (Setting aside vendor lock-in, since I don’t believe that’s a technical innovation).