PS Consultants - ideas & solutions

IE4 - Delight or Disaster!

Did you install Microsoft Internet Explorer version 4 from one of the shower of cover CD ROMS that offered you this wondrous piece of software as everything from a cure to impotence to the elixir of life? No? Well, your PC stands a good chance of still working in that case.

Demon Internet who even issued a special edition of their house magazine "Demon Dispatches" to give away the CD with IE4 on it experienced a lurch in their ability to deal with technical support calls, according to "anonymous sources" in the company. The day beforeIE4 was launched, they were achieving a 93% clear up rate, and the day after, allegedly just 7%.

The most frequently asked question in many Internet newsgroups is "How do I get rid of it?" although given that many who installed the thing broke their systems completely, it's possible that their reaction has yet to be heard.

Of course, if you read the MS publicity, MSIE4 has been a startling and huge success of galactic proportions. Crap. It's been a cock-up and the software was let loose way before it's ready. More people than ever now require real proof that MSIE4 is not just another predictable element in the Grand MS strategy to turn the internet from an open system to a proprietary scheme for the sole benefit and glorification of Microsoft.

It' also really intended for use with a permanent internet connection.

I hope that BackWeb will complete their effort to integrate the wonderful Headliner from Lanacom that they acquired a few months back, since that product.

Note to sub: I wanted to use a screen grab of IE4 to illustrate this item, but I lost my bottle and didn't dare try and install the software after all the problems I have read about. Can you use a grab by one of the more intrepid Shopper contributors who doesn't mind spending his or her weekends hand-patching and repairing the registry. Thanks!

The White Flag
Microsoft’s avalanche of Internetedness in the wake of Lord Gates’ conversion to all things networked has created a workload for developers that means that they can do little else day long but examine the latest releases form Microsoft. This is a neat strategy to tie up developers and freeze out the competition.

But one thing that the Microsoft and Internet (mainly NetScape) episode has proven beyond all doubt is the crucial importance of competition to keep to fat cats on their toes.

The prospect of Microsoft freezing out the competition altogether is unthinkable, yet competing operating system vendors have pretty much thrown in the towel because they cannot match the muscle of Microsoft with its arm lock on PC manufacturers, and also the inevitability the Microsoft’s own applications are finding themselves more and more closely tied into the operating system. Only a lunatic or someone with a very focused and specific requirement would start a corporate IT strategy based on OS/2 these days. Heavens, even most of IBM isn’t trying to pretend OS/2 is a viable alternative to anything from Microsoft these days.

So with the notion of OS integrated with apps just around the corner, it seems vital to the health of the industry world wide that Microsoft should be broken up into separate units to enable competition to open up in sectors it now dominates well beyond the point of monopoly.

A perfectly start on the framework for doing this and creating a viable mechanism for managing a better "distributed marketplace" was set up years ago by the various "open standards" bodies that failed to excite anyone with rather feeble Unix and X Windows strategies.

Gates’ desire to keep it together apparently hinges on his drive to dominate absolutely every aspect of IT, and an honestly held belief that the pace of development would be slowed if he wasn’t controlling every single aspect of IT direction. Well, just maybe we could all use a breather while some folks catch up and you fix up all the bugs in the existing product ranges before distracting us all with talk of the next generation.

You’ve already got effective world domination Bill, and been identified as the world’s richest person, now please let’s play a different game and see what can happen with room for more viable competition in the marketplace.

After all, your position of dominance was handed you on a plate by the stupidity of IBM who gave what amounted a monopoly on microcomputer software. Your products were mediocre for a long time, but because you were "locked in" using tactics that do not bear close scrutiny by those concerned with monopoly practises, you were able to take three or four shots at getting them right, with the help of millions of inadvertent "beta testers".

But the game’s up, and you’ve won hands down. Only $2bn more, and the much fabled Sultan of Brunei will tapping you for a loan.

Now please let’s go back to a more traditional form of business where companies compete on the quality of their products, ideas, and above all their service to the customer.