If you want to start a heated debate among computer folks this the topic to do it. Just see the lively discussions on the topic over at the “news for nerds” site Slashdot. The stereotypical nerd, of course, wouldn’t want to be caught dead working with anything made in Redmond, but for some reason I have always defended Microsoft in the inevitable debates among my colleagues (which all have IT backgrounds), who prefer either the Mac (claiming its so much easier to use) or Linux (because it is “free”).
Part of this because I like to disagree with people for the sake of disagreeing, though there are other reasons as well. For one, I come from a business background rather than a purely technical one. I therefore have to give Microsoft credit for the fact that they are the biggest software company in the world, having an installed base of hundreds of millions of PCs. The market has spoken! Also, while they may not make the best software in the market, it seems to be good enough to sell in incredible numbers to user’s everywhere, so they must be doing something right. While writing software at work I have noticed on more then occasion that having the best software is not really desirable. Rather it should be just good enough go get the job done, and this seems to describe Microsoft’s products perfectly. Also, the fact that their software is free doesn’t mean much to me – and probably should mean much to most people for what it’s worth. Like most people, I don’t really have a need to take an application’s sources, fire up a compiler and build my own executable. Also, I don’t want to look at the code of the applications I use. While some claim this way one could fix bugs even when the manufacturer doesn’t, anyone who has ever tried to work through other peoples’ code will agree that it is a horrible experience. Reading code is harder than writing code by several orders of magnitude.
Putting all this aside, I would like to say that I really like the Microsoft products I’m using: There is Windows Mobile on my cell phone, Windows Home Server for my file storage and backup needs, and since last Friday my brand-new Windows 7 Ultimate. It’s not a big change over Windows Vista, but rather feels like a natural progression. There have been a lot of changes here and there but nothing that would confuse people who have used Vista before. To all those who are still using XP, I can only say, I’m sorry for you. I am forced to work with Windows XP at work and there is just so much stuff that I miss on a day-to-day basis. As Windows 7 seems to pushed as a “Vista done right” release, I sure hope my employer and other businesses will adopt it quickly. For anybody using XP it should be a no-brainer. I don’t want to go into the specifics of Windows 7 (I’ll leave that to the pros like Paul Thurrott, see his excellent and exhaustive review on the Super Site for Windows), but just reaffirm that I think Windows 7 is awesome! Thank you Microsoft. Keep up the good work.