Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Where Did All This Non-Microsoft Software Come From?

We all use software from a variety of vendors. I bet most people reading this set up new machines with

- Microsoft Office
- Adbobe Acrobat Reader
- QuickBooks
- (Trend)(Symantec)(McAfee)(etc.) anti-virus

But then there's all the other, more specialized stuff.

As a Certified Partner, I have access to just about anything Microsoft produces. That's why I don't care much when they're giving away copies of Office, etc. I have that. I just got licenses for EBS this week. Big Whoop.

Anyway, when I need something, I look to see whether it's in the Big Partner Box. After all, why buy something if you already own a competent alternative (or the market leader)?

So free is good. But my next decision is what to buy when I'm spending money. For example, the Microsoft mapping program kicks serious butt. I particularly like downloading maps to the pocket PC so I have everything for an entire city when I travel.

I have just always had a Microsoft bias. Even when I was using a product that is not "the" leader in the industry (e.g., Publisher), I was using something good enough and supporting the home team.

But something changed this year.

Gradually, my office has purchased an alternative mapping program because of a specific feature (I don't even remember what it is) that MapPoint didn't have.

We finally broke down and bought Adobe Illustrator because we were exchanging a ton of files with someone.

We bought In Design because of two simultaneous book projects that were just going to be easier than doing the layout in Publisher.

Expression web kicks butt. It also occasionally just "has to close now" and throw away all your hard work. So now we're buying Dreamweaver.

Then I uploaded something to iTunes and it dropped a browser on my desk. I had to take a look.

Somewhere along the line, a "Get Open Office.org" shortcut showed up. It's just a matter of time before I get curious enough to click that.

I won a Crackberry and then fell in love with it. So I don't need mappoint or streets and maps any more.

Overall, for a variety of reasons that all seem unrelated to one another, I'm not relying on Microsoft for "all" my software anymore.

The chink in the armor is not The Cloud. An Internet by any other name would smell as sweet.

Strangely enough, I think it's one part giving in to popular choices (e.g., Adobe products), one part finally getting fed up with stuff that mostly works (Expression Web), and one part happenstance.

- - - - -

Microsoft owns the operating system on desktops. My first choice by far is Vista. If compatibility is an issue, I could be talked into XP.

Microsoft owns the Office Suite. They are working really hard to ruin this market for themselves (see How to kill the most successful product in history). But for now, they own the Office Suite.

Servers. Hmmmm. Microsoft owns the mindshare. But we've found ourselves working with a lot more Linux every year. Haven't sold one yet, but it's no longer outside the realm of possibility.

On every thing else -- games and specialty products -- Microsoft seems to be just another company. They do some things spectacularly well (e.g., Exchange, SQL). But they also have many mediocre products that just aren't ready for the true professional (e.g., Publisher and Expression Web).

On a very selfish note: I have wished for years that Publisher and FrontPage/Expression Web would grow up and be taken seriously. I have the latest version of both. Microsoft needs to just sell these as home office tools.

- - - - -

I certainly don't claim to represent anyone other than myself. I've long been a dyed-in-the-wool Microsoft fan. But with one product after another, I find that I need the best product available and I'm not finding it at Microsoft.

Being a big name with a big budget selling second-rate products works great in an expanding economy. But I'm not sure how well that strategy will work in the next year or so.



  1. Blackberry? Really?



  2. Karl,

    You might be still in the honeymoon period with Adobe. My clients are moving away from Adobe in droves. The software has high hardware requirements, poor performance even then, bloat, and many unresolved errors. Add that to lousy support and you've got a real loser.


  3. Vlad: I'm addicted.

    Amy: What are they moving TO?

    If the Microsoft package isn't doing the job and the Adobe package has all these problems, what are they doing?

    I can tell you this from the publishing side of the isle: every file I receive regarding publishing or graphics is an Adobe format.


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