Microsoft Dropped Support for PC

Isn’t that an eye catcher? It is far more accurate than the pee-pee-ka-ka being spouted by “industry analysts”, big 4 consulting companies and MBAs everywhere. What these supposedly knowledgeable people are spouting follows:

We have to get off of VMS because HP is dropping support for the VAX.”

It’s very difficult to determine if this statement comes from genuine cerebral damage or outright intent to commit criminal fraud. In the case of the “industry analysts” and the big 4 consulting companies it is hard to believe the statement comes from anything other than an intent to commit criminal fraud and drum up some off-shore porting contracts. In the case of MBAs, they really do tend to have been dropped on the head repeatedly as children.

Part of the problem might be that VMS is VMS is VMS. The VAX to Alpha port of VMS was so clean that a lot of end users and managers had no idea their VAX was now an Alpha. Granted, the Itanium hasn’t lived up to any of its advertisements, but it is the current architecture VMS runs on.

Yes, HP is dropping support for the VAX architecture. They are no longer going to compile, patch, update, etc. VMS for that architecture. They also haven’t manufactured one of those CPUs in well over a decade, so…either the companies still running on a physical VAX have stockpiled a lot of old spare parts, or they have went the emulator route rather than migrate to an Alpha…or migrated to a different OS on the Alpha platform AND chose to run a VAX emulator in some kind of virtual environment. It doesn’t really matter. Odds are they haven’t been applying OS and layered product updates for a while. When was the last time anyone reading this actually got software on a 2400′ magnetic tape or a TK-50 from HP?

The Alpha is going to be supported until some time in/around 2016 and the Itanium (known as the Itanic by many) will be supported until some time in 2025. So, you have a very long time to make a decision. For those who can rip out the MACRO code in their home grown applications, they can mostly recompile on the Itanium and start running on an architecture with a lower support cost. Those of you unfortunate enough to have written production software with MACRO (assembler) have a much tougher row to hoe than most others. R0 ain’t what it used to be when you get over there. Higher level languages will be happy happy joy joy.

Microsoft hasn’t shipped an operating system or application which will run on the 8086 in years. This same group of “industry analysts” and big 4 consulting companies should be telling everyone to abandon Microsoft.

 

A Tale of Two Market Segments

The following is an excerpt from “The Minimum You Need to Know About Qt and PostgreSQL” which has now been renamed “The Minimum You Need to Know about Qt and Databases”.

What is really the fundamental difference between the MAC market and the PC market? Apple has completely tossed out prior architecture on more than one occasion, yet MAC is now the leading college campus computer. Vista required such a massive hardware upgrade for most existing Windows users that most have refused to upgrade. After officially dropping support for Windows XP, Microsoft began selling a “Business Edition” Vista license. I purchased one of these computers for someone. Do you want to know what the “Business Edition” really is? It comes bootable media which will wipe Vista off your machine and install Windows XP Pro. Microsoft counts this as a Vista license sale, but they really just sold another copy of Windows XP Pro.

How is it that the Apple customers are willing to endure this, but the Microsoft customers are not? When Apple throws out the prior technology, they throw it out lock-stock-and-barrel. A major improvement in both the operating system and the hardware shipping with it occurs. There is a compelling reason to ditch the old stuff for the new. Vista was not a major improvement. Microsoft doesn’t control the computer hardware like Apple does. Anyone who has seen any of the “I’m a MAC and I’m a PC” commercials where the PC user was rejoicing about being error free for nearly a week can get a good understanding of just how bad Vista has been. So bad, Microsoft has come up with a new campaign where they won’t even use the name Vista anymore.

Over the course of its existence, Microsoft had managed to compel people and companies to upgrade and stay current with the latest toys. That worked until the PC became a standard office supply. Companies look to spend as little as possible when it comes to standard office supplies. Windows XP pro became successful because it remained virtually unchanged for many years. Companies developed a lot of software for it, and most employees already had some idea of how to check email and surf the Web on it when they were hired. It is a Heritage system. The very thing Microsoft (and most everybody trying to sell something new into IT) rails against, claiming it is holding people and companies back from reaching their full potential. What the marketing types don’t understand is the reasons Heritage systems exist.

  1. They are a sunk cost.
  2. They do their job.
  3. Most companies don’t make money changing software or hardware platforms.

Apple can get away with a complete redesign of their platform because they aren’t found on most office desks. They occupy creative niches at companies and really are still personal machines. The PC targeted the much wider “business tool” market. What Microsoft shareholders and leaders haven’t realized yet is that once a carpenter has a hammer they like, they need an incredibly compelling reason to buy a new one. Vista was not compelling.