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WMP10 is an absolute disaster. It uses more than 40% of my CPU when playing MP3 files, and freezes my system as soon as the iPod comes up.

Personally I absolutely hate iTunes, and what exactly are the users who don't like the library style interfaces supposed to do these days? I would have hoped that when MS decided to copy the iTunes interface they would at least be able to make it work efficiently and improve on its flaws. I guess not.
(FooBar2000 anyone? Wow, it actually only uses max 2% of my CPU - just like playing an mp3 should do!)

What has inspired all these substandard Microsoft products? What’s going on at Microsoft? Just this week MS decided to sue a former employee for going across to Google, much like most of their other good employees. Where’s the logic in that? Microsoft isn’t making itself a desirable company to work at anymore, and their solution is to threaten their employees with lawsuits if they leave? That doesn’t exactly seem like a good idea to me. Microsoft is clearly in a challenging period and as far as I can tell, it’s not reacting well.

I believe Microsoft has forgotten what its core business is. They have become too afraid of being “compartmentalized” and stagnant that they are flailing around everywhere trying to do everything, and pulling none of it off.

WMP10 is just one of many such badly planned decisions to come out for Microsoft. The people at Redmond are acting in complete panic and seem to have forgotten who their user base is. People who want easy to use computers have NEVER been Windows users. Ease of use has always been synonymous with Apple computers. Security has always been synonymous with UNIX. Windows has always just been “for the masses”. This means not amazingly stable, secure, but will run on pretty much anything. Microsoft seems to have got itself caught up with this user friendly fad. Yes, ease of use is important, but not to the extent where you impair functionality.

Microsoft isn’t the company to make easy to use products. That’s always been Apples game. If they want to try, it will take years to catch up.

Microsoft isn’t the company to make highly secure, stable, servers. That’s always been up to the various UNIX friendly companies. There having reasonable success here, but at what cost? How long have they been working at this? (I’m going to count NT4 as the first plausible attempt : that was 1996.)

Microsoft isn’t the company to make on-demand services. That’s always been up to the internet companies like Amazon, and now Google.

Microsoft doesn’t have the ability to fight on all these fronts. The only one they are having success in is in the server field, and that’s only because they’ve been working at it for 12 years now. Microsoft isn’t the highly creative inspiring style organization that Apple is. The structure of Microsoft won’t let it compete effectively with Apple, and user friendliness is a field they have NEVER led. I doubt this will change.

The internet has never been something Microsoft ever managed to really get involved in. Netscape’s browser was seen as a threat to be stamped out. Internet Explorer was released for free to undermine Netscape’s business model. No real effort has ever been made for internet technologies by Microsoft. Sure ASP has been around since 1996, but no one really used it till relatively recently. Messengers popularity has only recently grown, ICQ was king of the hill for many years.

The point I’m trying to make, is that Microsoft has never been a leader in any of these fields. Microsoft seems to have forgotten what they do. So perhaps we should remind them: “A PC on every desktop.” That’s right. Microsoft makes business software. Software that runs on any PC, software that is relatively easy to use, but still powerful and functional.

Some time ago Microsoft changed its plan to “Empower people through great software anytime, anyplace, and on any device.”. Okay, so they are trying, and mostly, failing. We are continuously assured that these new Microsoft ventures will turn a profit “real soon now”. Fact of the matter is, that nothing other than the business applications is turning a profit. And now, in the struggle to be perceived as number one, this is being neglected.

Microsofts huge problem of loosing its employees to “sexy” companies like Google is contributing to its problems in loosing its core business. Major core products like Visual Studio (the program used to make other programs) and Longhorn (the next operating system - the program needed to run other programs) are being downsized and delayed. Meanwhile Microsoft’s “fun” and “sexy” projects like the Xbox and WGF2 are steaming ahead of time and ahead of the competition. Microsoft needs to concentrate more on its core products, and make these sexier, more interesting to its programmers, and simply, treat their programmers better and pay them more.

Visual studio is doing okay, because they are working hard to make it support “cool” technologies - things that interest the programmers, and have “famous” people working on it. The problem with longhorn is that all the “cool” technologies in it have been removed and basically, there is nothing new left in there to excite either the consumer or the programmers.

In summery, I wish Microsoft would get back to doing what it does best. Recruit new blood, people who are passionate about operating sytems, compiler technology and true computer science. Pay your operating system programmers more, give all your employees more benefits, and let the operating system guys do something more interesting than port yesteryears technology to another platform. Stop trying to be someone else, and go back to being the Microsoft that actually worked.