Why do I hate Microsoft?

Blog topic: 
No, I don't hate Bill Gates. He is doing what everyone would do in a similar situation. Could I hate a man I envy? What I do hate is Microsoft products which aim at the lowest common denominator, the fact that Microsoft is deliberately ruining the software industry, and that most windowers don't realize it and are happy with Microsoft's mediocracy.

Living in Israel, I am particularly annoyed with Micro$oft, since they are doing their best to force right-to-left users (i.e., Israel and the Arab world) to use Windoze.

How for example? Well, they deliberately do not have RTL versions of Microsoft Office suite for OS X. No, this is not because it is hard to implement RTL (OS X had superb Unicode support), but because they don't want to risk losing customers who will, god forbid, buy systems other than Windoze. On the same token, which browser do you think is the only one on "OS X" not to support RTL? Correct, Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

And talking about IE, here is another example for how microsoft is keeping the industry behind (either deliberately, or due to their incompetency). The IE browser is the worst in terms of conforming to internet standards (e.g., XHTML and CSS). Every so often, I check my website on an IE, only to find that IE cannot handle standard markup which shows up perfectly well on all other browsers. This of course forces me to downgrade the quality just so that the IE surfers will feel alright. For example, my sciencebits.com website includes quite a few equations (rendered with LaTeX if you're curious). To increase their quality, I wanted to render them at higher resolution (higher than 72 dpi). Now all modern browsers know how to scale the formula images (i.e., perform proper anti-aliasing) and produce nice crispy images for the screen. Moreover, because the images are originally at higher resolution, the print version of the pages are of high quality too. Neanderthal browsers, like IE, don't know how to scale the images, they produce horrible looking "things". So, I had no choice but to compromise on quality.

Another problem arises because Microsoft develops (if you can call that developing) and sells website design software. As you would expect from Microsoft, it produced non-standard markup, i.e, html which can only be properly read by IE. Thus, many sites (too many in Israel) cannot be properly accessed by anything but IE on Windoze. I presume Microsoft's software does that deliberately, so that weak minded people will be forced to keep on using IE and Windoze. Either that or Microsoft is incompetent. Pick your choice.

So, if you're using IE, you should know that you are setting back the industry besides being prone to more security attacks (e.g., this article, or this one). You should at least try some other browser like firefox. You would be doing the industry a little favor.

Of course, Microsoft will never conquer me. I have seen the light. I use Mac OS X and Linux boxes. The latter are cheep and very effective (but require some unix'ing), while the former is sleek and simply unrivaled. (Have you seen Apple's new PC/Mac commercials?). It wasn't always like that. When Microsoft started, with MS-DOS, they were a refreshing improvement over their rival, CP/M. Too bad it is hard for giant companies to be innovative. Hard but not impossible!


Comments (20)

  • anon

    Their products and their operating system are buggy. Why can't they invest in better quality? Unfortunately they set the (low) standards in the industry.

    May 23, 2006
  • anon
    eibmoz (not verified)

    Their products are getting worse all the time, take for instance IE7, icons locked in uncoviniant places, bad design and full of bugs.
    As a browser i find IE6 very good as its fully costumizable and very userfriendly. Also great design with pleasent colors.
    Firefox is the better one but i dont like the design compared to IE6, looks rather blocky, its heavy on system resources too. But if you want a stable browser with tabed browsing, install plugins, its one of the best around.
    In my opinion Windows 2000 was the best OS from Microsoft, had to move to Windows XP because of the lacking support.
    The new Vista is just horrible so i may switch over to Ubuntu Linux in future.

    Jun 16, 2008
  • anon
    Lee (not verified)

    It always seems that Microsoft want to reinvent the wheel when they haven't got it rolling without hiccups. They want to be pioneers online, but forget that they do not own the internet and the Microsoft way just doesn't work. It worries me that Google is getting as big as it is, most people think Google is currently the best online platform but we all thought the same with the first instalment of windows. Mac's appeal to me more and more as time goes on. It's a shame Linux still hasn't caught on :(

    Feb 18, 2009
  • anon

    Maybe I don't hate Microsoft... Has anyone else used Windows 7 lately? It's SUPER innovative! They have this thing... I think it's called a dock (TOTALLY BRAND NEW AND INNOVATIVE)... (sarcasm)... And then there are these widgets... I mean gadgets... and now they can be placed ANYWHERE on your screen! Now, if only someone came up with a way to render them out of the way with the press of a button... yeah... NOBODY has done that.... hmmm... Anyway, at least Microsoft is trying to clone some of the better user innovations out there.

    I also enjoy how Microsoft does not like to play well with other operating systems... it's the fault all those other STANDARDS based systems out there. Maybe if they would just non-conform...??? Jeez Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite! Why is your SQL so different from MSSQL?....

    If you enjoy being ripped off, maybe Microsoft is for you. If you like the idea of doing only basic things poorly, maybe Micrsoft is for you. If you enjoy teaching young children to move a mouse on a TV comercial and claim they use a PC while a video of Windows plays on a monitor... yeah, maybe windows is for you. But, if like doing really awesome things you never thought possible with your computer... maybe Linux and Mac are for you.

    May 15, 2009
  • anon

    You mention that when microsoft started, MS DOS was the best OS/S in town. The reason is that it wasn't developed by microsoft/Gates, it was bought from a poor fellow in Seattle who knew how to develop an operating system but no marketing... So, nothing microsoft developed by themselves was actually any good, ever.

    Jun 01, 2006
  • anon

    you pay $$$ for a thin graphic layer over mach + bsd. you cannot license the os and run it on a dell/hp/dyi-box. itunes is as evil as msft with its drm. bill gates is giving back all of his wealth. i'd rather have msft make this money and give it back than have mega vps + ceos driving their jags in the valley after writing tiny apps on linux boxes.

    Aug 31, 2006
  • anon

    At least Apple is makihg a comitment to the environment, phasing out lead and other harmful chemicals which micro$oft still uses in abundance. That and besides, most if not all micro$oft technology is based off of either Apple- or Linux-based software developed first. Just look at how closely vista resembles OSX Tiger, and sooner, Leopard. Apple's always been the leader in breakthroughs with micro$oft being the chineese-knockof brand.

    Aug 25, 2007
  • anon

    For many years, I used to have a mac at home and a unix/linux box at the office. Then, when apple switched to the BSD based OS X, I merged the two and lived happily ever after. (Well, almost given the Right to left problems).

    Sure, OS X is now a nice but not necessary front end to unix, but hey, it's so well done that really saves tons of time in the administration and also in many daily routines. I can of course perfectly manage linux boxes (my students have them, they're cheaper after all), but since time is money, I prefer saving it and spend a few $'s more for the time saving "OS X".

    Aug 26, 2007
  • anon

    Microsoft is out of control. I am finished with them. Let's all support Linux, Apple, any other Operating System than microsoft, or should I say monopoly$oft???

    Mar 10, 2008
  • anon
    White Boards (not verified)

    Just to play the devils advocate.... you gotta look at what ol' Bill has done as a whole. He built this company from the ground up and turned it into this monster of a business at a record breaking speed. Yes, they do have the majority market share. But after all, isn't that what business is all about??

    Apr 28, 2008
  • anon
    Keith at Quantu... (not verified)

    I have to take a little different direction and tell you from an integrators standpoint. He built an operating system and application platform that has a similiar look and feel, with ease of navigation and integration in mind. I started in IT over 25 years ago and remember MPM, CPM and the DOS the days. Applications on these operating systems were disjointed and had little or nothing in common.

    I hated Windows when it first came out and couldn't figure out why anyone would want to click around with a mouse. However, watching the WYSIWYG concept take hold and grow into what we have today makes a certain amount of sense. When you have a corporation of users to train on an office suite of applications, it sure is nice to be able to show them the similar look and feel throughout the MS apps. That's not to say that you couldn't get the same thing in another O/S. However, Gates was the first to pull it off.

    Just my two cents,


    Jun 21, 2008
  • anon
    Jeff (not verified)

    Yeah I'm with Devil's Advocate... any other company would have done the exact same thing in microsoft's position.

    Oct 17, 2008
  • anon
    Piper Heidsieck (not verified)

    Although i am not a big fan of Google, it amuses me when i think about the miserable efforts of MSN compared with big G. This is one area in which they will certainly never catch up

    Oct 29, 2008
  • anon

    What surprised me about Bill Gates was his transformation from a bit pusher to an international CEO. He really did build the company from the ground up!

    I first heard of MicroSoft (as it was spelled then) in the 70's; a fellow programmer took a job with them and back then Bill Gates himself proudly described to new hires the tricks used to save a few bytes in 4K/8K Basic for CP/M (like using a synthetic load immediate instruction to avoid the jump on what was effectively a then clause in assy lang and save one byte and several cycles). Not that many bit and register level techies with small startups wind up successfully leading multibillion dollar industry leaders; the skillsets and temperaments tend to be different. (Jobs is another fascinating case). I've known a good number of techies (and been one) and the percentage who would be effective CEOs of large corps is probably small. Most would lose control to venture capitalists or better (or at least more savvy) executives long before hitting the $10 billion mark.

    I dislike many things about the Microsoft philosophy (make fancy tools that are easy if you want to do what the designers expected, but messy if you diverge from their expectations), but it's really not fair to think they "stole" everything. Sure, pretty much every innovation in tech is derived from earlier and more primative ideas - Xerox PARC and the Lisp folks borrowed GUI ideas back and forth until Apple's Lisa and MacIntosh created an amazingly cheap variant and later Gem and Microsoft did their DOS based windowing systems as yet another implementation, etc. But Microsoft did add a tremendous amount of intellectual capital in the process. To my aesthetics their designs often feel bloated - but in truth, Apple and BSD and Linux systems are not exempt from that tendency (even if thankfully lagging the trend). Something like the .net system (the language system, not the marketing stuff) was a very decent implementation of the concept it embodied, say.

    Philosophically I more in line with FOSS, but I try to be fair in my criticisms.

    Too bad they don't support RTL better, in your case - but maybe that's a blessing in the end!

    Feb 15, 2009
  • anon
    Brook (not verified)

    Yes I agree, microsoft has been on the top way too long. There are many other solutions and alternatives to microsoft out there. Windows is really not that functonal at the end of the day. Linux is a great solution

    Jul 08, 2008
  • anon
    Søkemotoroptima... (not verified)

    I'm a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and have been working with Microsoft products for almost 10 years.
    Just wanted to say that I run Linux on my computer at home and have a girlfriend who's a happy MAC user :-)

    We do this even thoug we could have the micrsoft products for free :-D

    Sep 16, 2008
  • anon
    Jennifer Summers (not verified)

    "You can have any colour you want, as long as it's black." While Henry Ford never actually said that, the quote does spring to mind when I think of Microsoft.

    I hope that Firefox can gain huge ground over the next few years. We need to look to the young for this.

    Nov 11, 2008
  • anon
    James Keller (not verified)

    Yup I totally agree with Shaviv, Microsoft doesn't develop applications to work with other platforms or browsers in the case.Its obvious they want sales for their softwares which are interrelated.Microsoft products aren't even that good.
    I think recently they've opened up to Mozilla firefox and the site needs either IE or Moz to work properly.

    Dec 01, 2008
  • anon
    Anonymous (not verified)

    There is a reason why Microsoft dominates. They competed against many other products, and eventually beat them. MS Office is a good example. It was a free market, and people eventually chose the Microsoft products. There is also a reason why the software development community is copying many of the methods pioneered by Microsoft in their own development teams. Whilst I like my iPod Touch, my Windows PC has a better OS from the users point of view. It is more open, less restricted (Apple are control freaks), with handwriting recognition that works. And Microsoft go out of their way to help developers. That said, the Windows phone OS stinks. And Microsoft tend not to innovate, but to copy, or buy out a company, or a development team. Windows, the NT OS, COM and .NET are good examples.

    I suspect IE is not conformant for a reason: Microsoft want to dominate the technology, and conforming to a standard goes against that philosophy. Making it conformant would allow somone to write a web site accessible from all browsers, which would not suit Microsoft. Instead people tend to support only IE, as it is the most popular. Not mediocrity, but devious business practices. That is also why they created C#. A new language to kill Java, allowing Microsoft to control the technology.

    However, have you tried to use Linux for anything slightly out of the ordinary. How many laser printers, scanners, and other hardware have drivers for Linux? Does Photoshop run on Linux? Does Nikon NX run on Linux? Do consumer products work with Linux? The usual answer is no. And in the UK Apple Macs cost an arm and a leg compared to PCs.

    Apr 26, 2010
  • anon
    Jason Campbell (not verified)

    Yea, Microsoft are a big bad bully in the industry and enforce unreasonable prices to licence their software.

    In fact, I set up a business to deal with the issue of consumers and businesses having to pay huge amounts of money to Microsoft. My Business (H Tech Support) provides alternative software to Microsoft Windows (XP/7/Server 200X) called H Tech Business Desktop - you may have heard of it.

    Anyway, if you're tired of paying software licence fees to Microsoft and want a free alternative, then I suggest you check us out.

    All the Best,
    Jason Campbell

    Aug 27, 2010