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  1.    #1  
    I'm sure by now everyone here has at least heard of Microsoft's new computing model for its NGWS (Next Generation Windows Services) now called Windows.net. I don't know how you guys feel about this, but frankly, it has me pissing my pants! This is a terrifying idea! All Microsoft...all the time on a pay per view basis. Imagine loading Microsoft Word and a splash screen pops up prompting you to enter your credit card information...doesn't sound pretty does it? MS just wants a piece of the ASP pie, but if they move the entire Windows platform to a subscription computing model, we as consumers may not have a choice in this matter. Let me just say that if Microsoft does go through with this...I'm moving to the Mac platform. At least OS X won't ask me for a monthly subscription fee.

    Don't get me wrong, I do see some benefits to this model. For one, my applications and data would be available online from any device, anywhere at any time. But this takes the *personal* out of Personal computing and resting my information in a public domain space. My other problem with this is that MS is retooling Windows to be a sort of thin client OS, and de-emphasize its standalone functions. As a Workstation OS for content creation, this doesn't sound very appealing to me. I want a fast stable OS for high-end content creation and multimedia, not one that' always connected to a server for accessing my applications and data. I envision more of a need for wireless devices rather than a desktop that's always wired!

    This really has me worried. Microsoft is dead serious about this! What do you guys think?

    ------------------
    www.palmfactory.com

    "No matter where you go...there you are!"
  2. xjx
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    #2  
    it seems to be called microsoft.net

    [This message has been edited by xjx (edited 06-25-2000).]
  3. #3  
    This model clearly favors the software company, as they enjoy continous revenue streams.

    There ARE advantages for large organizations, though. They can access 10 copies of Word on 100 machines, the software is always updated (saving on support costs) and the IT dept. has to do less installations and maintenance on the remote machines.

    For the consumer market, however, I don't like it. I much prefer Apple's "software update control panel" approach where you CAN see if there is newer software AND download it (and maybe eventually purchase it) but you still own a single copy ON YOUR machine.
  4.    #4  
    Originally posted by xjx:
    it seems to be called microsoft.net
    That's just the name for the larger umbrella of products that Microsoft is renaming .net. For example, Office 2000 is now Office.net, Money 2000 is now Money.net, and of course Windows is now Windows.net

    Microsoft.net is really nothing more than a moniker to describe the new Microsoft branding campaign.

    [This message has been edited by foo fighter (edited 06-25-2000).]
  5. #5  
    Foo -- while I am still out on the subscription concept, I do like the information anywhere concept. The way I look at it, the information is personal, not necessarily the computer. I have had my own personal data on my home server for quite some time. When at work, school, on the road or at various public terminals, I have the ability to access my own files by simply logging in.

    My home "office" turns into a virtual office. I carry around my Visor and a cell phone. During the day, people call me requesting various documents, estimates, quotes, forms, etc..etc..etc.. By having my personal data available anywhere, I can simply go to the nearest internet connected PC (which seems like every single one nowadays), pull up the requested document, modify it as necessary and print it out, fax it, email it, etc right from the terminal.

    Another thing I enjoy is when working on projects at another terminal, I can save directly to my system and have peace of mind that my data is secure and not on a floppy disk (which could go bad, get lost, stolen, etc..)

    From my understanding, the .NET initative will take this a step further to where I can access my programs, documents, files, data, etc..etc..etc.. from virtually any platform, anytime, anywhere. If it is as fast and reliable as my current setup, then I can see it being useful as a student and mobile professional.

    I feel that by the time this .NET platform really takes off, there will be atleast three other platforms (OS X, Linux and the current Win98/2000 platform) that will provide ample ease of use and interoperability with the XML documents that Microsoft apps will be spewing out to give a real alternative to people who do not want to join the subscription system.

    Joe
  6. #6  
    access to all files from anywhere does sound neat....until Microsoft says 'you can only access them from a PocketPC or other device running a microsoft product!'

    It is a bold move on microsoft...i really don't think the rest of the industry is going to sit back and let it happen. Because of microsofts past attempts at similar strategies, we now have the PalmOS and Linux.

    So microsoft might try this, but i don't think it'll be our only option.
  7. #7  
    Talk about repackaging, and marketing as new - especially regarding Office.net. Am I the only one wondering how this differs from running Office on top of Terminal Serivces? The only differences that I can see are:<UL TYPE=SQUARE>
    <LI>you don't control the server or the data (do you really want Microsoft holding your mission critical data?)
    <LI>you are utterly dependent on your Internet connection
    <LI>you have to hope that Office.net is more reliable that HotMail.</UL>
    All this, and having to fork over the bucks for a subscription! I don't see it. I've got notes, re: Microsoft moving to a subscription model, going back more than 10 years. I guess they are finally going to do it.

    This might be good news for Corel. If the price delta is enough . . . actually nevermind, price may have little to do with it. To reiterate, I just don't see alot of folks opting for a subscription for Office.

    Are Oracle or PeopleSoft really doing all that well with their ASP offerings? At least in the case of Oracle and PeopleSoft, I can see smaller businesses going for solutions that they would otherwise not have access to. But is this really the case with Office?
  8. #8  
    yucca's right. I see plenty of advantages for MS (billions, in fact), but none for the consumer. I don't even see the advantages for a business. Changing the distribution model for applications doesn't change the intstallation, configuration and maintenance requirements. In fact, it makes your IT department even more dependent on the ASP. Ever tried getting tech support from MS? As for the general consumer, if I want remote access to my documents and applications, I can already do that in *nix. And leaving my computer in the net all the time would compromise my security almost as much as leaving all my content on an MS.net megaserver. No thanks. Someone on Slashdot said it best: MS.net is going to go over about as big as 1996-97 "push" technology.
  9. #9  
    In response to the thread name...

    UMM... &lt;b&gt;NO!!!!&lt;/b&gt;

    This is the WORST possible thing that could occur!! MS is basically saying: okay, you want to use your OS? log on to OUR servers and use OUR servers to STORE your info!!!

    It's the ultimate monopoly!

    Because of this I'm even MORE sure that I want MS SPLIT!!!!

    I for one want my info on my compter, and not accesible to others if I don't want it! Especially Microsoft!!!

    (can you tell I don't like Microsoft's abuse of it's monopoly? I still use Netscape too! )
  10. #10  
    Actually, this has really already been tried (and failed, BTW). Does anyone remember DIVX, the home video / DVD version that allows a customer to "buy" a DIVX disc and watch it for 48 hours, then dial in to the central computer and purchase extra viewing time. You don't see it anymore,... hmmm,... it failed, miserably,...

    This is really the same thing, DIVX for your computer! I am *positive* that this will FAIL even more *MISERABLY* than the DVD-version! And Microshaft's reputation (like they had a good one) will be ruined for good.

    To coin a term from the DVD/DIVX wars, "Big Brother is watching you."
  11. #11  
    While I personally don't care for the idea all that much, I don't think it is easy to write it off as a failure, such as DIVX.

    While I don't have the figures handy, my guess is a substantial amount of individuals and companies are already on some type of payment plan for their computer systems (36/48 month purchase plan, leasing, etc..). Along with this, people are already paying month fees for internet access. So why not software?

    By doing this, companies and individuals will be able to spend x amount of dollars for their systems. There is value added because for only x amount of dollars more a month (my guess is $5 more than the current structure), they are getting up to date software during the 3 or 4 year plan.

    Above and beyond this, they will get the connectivity features between their various devices that this subscription system promotes among other "benefits" to the subscription/.NET service. I think it would be nice to have my various wireless devices synced with my computer system, and knowing I don't have to drop $175-$400 every other year for the latest software packages.

    Lets play this out some more.

    1. Computer manufacturers will love this system. It will basically force you to replace your system every 3 years (I mean, who will want to refuse software updates to get the latest and greatest features? U know what more features want -&gt; faster processor, more disk space, more ram, etc..etc..etc..)

    2. Corporations *MAY* find benefit to this. One thing I see of particular interest is training costs. When major deployment of a new operating system or software packages occurs, along with it is training cost to get employees up to speed. I would think through a subscription system, as features are added to the software, employees could learn them in "bite sized pieces" and therefore reduce corporate training costs.

    3. Backup precaution. While many businesses have backup plans for their data, many individuals/personal users do not. I can't count the amount of times I have heard of peoples drives crashing or accidently erasing files. It sounds like the .NET service will allow documents to be stored on servers over the internet. May give some people some peace of mind to know their data is secure from computers crashing, theft, fires, etc..

    Thats just a few things that I thought of that may justify the existance of this subscription based system. I dunno.. but I think for a few bucks more a month, this subscription system just might take off..

    Joe
  12. #12  
    Points taken regarding potential cost savings and convenience. You may be right. However, the cost savings will depend on what, if any, price break Microsoft gives versus conventional licenses. Absent significant savings, I don't see medium and larger sized businesses going for this. This is particularly so because many companies don't upgrade with every release - so their costs are not nearly what some might think. Further, the larger companies get substantial price breaks vs. what the small business or the individual pay.

    Another flaw with this approach is that it fails to address custom meta-applications that leverage the integration between Office's components; and, more importantly, tie them to a company's databases. This is where the whole Office-as-an-ASP thing falls flat on its face. No company is going to give Microsoft (or anyone else for that matter) the keys to its internal databases. Further, I doubt most companies would be willing to pay for the bandwidth that such a solution would require. OTOH, this probably isn't much of an issue for individuals and most small businesses (although it should be for the latter group).

    One final point. If cost savings and convenience are so important, why not go with one of the ASP office suites that already exist?

    [This message has been edited by yucca (edited 06-30-2000).]
  13. #13  
    Hey Yucca..
    Just to let you know, I agree with you. I was just trying to think up various reasons why this could succeed -- to counter Cashman's belief it would fall flat on its face.
    With the actual implimentation of the .NET platform still quite a ways off and the fact that Microsoft generally does not meet deadlines on these types of projects, I wouldn't expect this to really get into the full swing of things for atleast another 3-4 years at the earliest.
    Looking at trends, as with my previous post, I see more people using some form of payment period purchasing for their computers and internet connections.
    I also see high speed net connections becoming the norm (cable modems, wireless, dsl, etc).
    In a few years, I believe that the internet backbone will be much more reliable due to the massive amount of R&D poured into internet based technologies -- maybe even exceeding the reliability of LANs in various companies.
    In a few years, lots of people will be using the internet as a primary medium for banking, paying bills, and business to business transactions.
    So if all of these peoples are trusting the internet with their money and businesses, why not their data? Look at all of the web hosting services that companies are using for their ecommerce. A lot of companies *COULD* host their ecom inhouse, but opt to go to a hosting service provider as it is cheaper and generally more reliable.
    Regarding the meta-applications, I don't see why this is a concern -- Theoretically you would have Microsoft supplying the Office.Net as an ASP and then the company supplying the custom application as an ASP. Integration is the key word microsoft has been using for .NET -- so I would assume these could integrate together, anywhere and at anytime. So while the Office.Net app is being served up from Microsoft servers, companies should still have control over their own databases and custom apps (maybe serve them up on a trusted hosting provider server).

    Another thought is the home office. Many companies are already providing employees with free PCs.. Granted, maybe for a year or two these will be used as a mechanism to get employees up-to-date with the latest computer advances. However, as bandwidth increases, there is no reason to rule out virtual offices, meetings, etc.. Most of that technology is already available and being used in corporate LANs.. Hense, using a sercure ASP to provide content to the employees would make sense -- would be much cheaper than hosting the services inside the company.

    I think the above answers the final question you had about why not use the current ASP office suites that are out there -- mostly bandwidth, security and reliablity concerns..

    Joe
  14. #14  
    So my question would be: What about the millions of PC owners who aren't on the Internet and don't have their PC's connected to a line out? Does this doom them to forever use an old version of Windows or (laughing) Linux??? Someone didn't think this one through very well. It may work to make corporations pay a monthly subscription fee or whatever, but as for the individual, I wouldn't say that it will be possible to do so for at least a few more years.
  15. #15  
    I'm guessing that at least a few of you don't read InfoWorld. So you might have missed Bob Metcalfe's column on this very topic (column is dated July 4, 2000). The following URL should get you close to his column - http://www.infoworld.com/opinions/index.html
  16. #16  
    While I'm still not in favor of MS.net, there's a great article on Stardock's site that gives a much better perspective on the positive side of the ASP business (Stardock is, itself, an ASP).
  17.    #17  
    Yucca, I wouldn't grant Bob Metcalfe too much credibility. He's been wrong before. In fact he *predicted* several years ago that the internet would never take off. He literally had to eat his words...in fact, he did eat his speech in public by throwing his article in a blender, and then drinking it! Yuck!

    But I'm forced to agree with Gameboy. This is an area of great concern for me. The idea of living in a "Microsoft everywhere on every device" theme world is, needless to say, troubling.

    ------------------
    www.palmfactory.com

    "No matter where you go...there you are!"
  18. #18  
    Wrong. He predicted that the Internet would suffer a great lapse in service due to overloaded core routers. He had data and the technical expertise to make such a prediction - it turns out that he was wrong. His prediction may have contributed to some changes which ultimately lead to his being proven wrong. BTW, the prediction was intended to be provocative, the general message behind the prediction was his real purpose. That he followed thru by eating his words only proves that he is a good sport (and, perhaps, that he takes himself too seriously)!

    By now you should know me well enough to know I don't take the words of anyone as canon - myself included! That said, his is a more informed and entertaining opinion than anything I've seen here on this topic. And that is why I posted the URL. BTW, you do know who he is, and what he's done - right?

    A related, but hopefully amusing aside. To this day I take 1g of vitamin C supplements every day. Why? One of my college's seminars included a lecture by Linus Pauling. It was hard to come away from his lecture without being greatly impressed by the man. That his position on vitamin C was well out of his field is grounds for serious doubt. But, as a friend observed, you never want to dismiss a guy with two Nobels . . . However, the evidence continues to mount that LP is dead wrong (may he RIP) . . . and still I take my vitamin C. Hey - at least it costs next to nothing!

    Re: Stardock - Brad's piece on ASPs is good (thanks, Gameboy!), but his OS/2 game, Galactic Civilizations (now being rewritten for Windows), is even better!
  19.    #19  
    Your misreading me Yucca! I'm not saying that Metcalfe shouldn't be taken seriously, the man is brilliant. In fact, I subscribe to the InfoWorld AvantGo channel so I can read his columns at leisure. Just as you say, he is very entertaining. And I absolutely agree with his views on Microsoft.not, er .net

    He believes this is simply the act of a company that has lost its relevance in a future that doesn't really include it, and I agree! It's like the last throws of the Roman Empire. Take PDAs for example. Jeff Hawkins wanted to invent something significant and original. He started out to develop something from the ground up that would impact the lives of others with a device that no one had envisioned. But Microsoft merely developed WinCE as a way to leverage its product into other devices as part of a "Windows Everywhere" philosophy...and they failed. There was no elegance or thought that went into its design. Pocket PC, however, is a great product, but it's too little too late. PalmOS has become the industry standard for handheld operating systems. And that industry really doesn't have a significant place for Microsoft.

    ------------------
    www.palmfactory.com

    "No matter where you go...there you are!"
  20. #20  
    Sorry if I misread you. BTW, I think that you've touched on the crux of the matter. Is .NET only a means of tying Windows/Office to the ASP space, and is it really going to be compelling without forcing the customer to go "all Microsoft" (as is the case with their current offerings)?

    Re: the PocketPC - - I am not counting Microsoft out. As long as there is any chance for assimilation, the Borg . . . errr . . . Microsoft will keep at it. When a descendant of the PPC can compete on cost, there is reason to believe that Microsoft will succeed. We might not even have to wait that long if Palm falters with the next generation Palms by pricing them at the PPCs' level, or by taking so long to deliver that tech advances allow Microsoft's partners to drop the price of the PPC to that of Palm's current offerings. Both scenarios are a possibility.

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