Good. Evil. Bratwurst.

Oh, brother!

Posted on by arlen

Rick Schaut rises to answer him. Now Rick’s a good guy, and sincere, but I suspect he knows in his heart of hearts just how right John Welch is. Still, Word is his project, and I’m sure he loves it, and we all want to defend our babies. (My apologies to Rick for misspelling his name in the first iteration of this article.)

I certainly think no less of him for his attempt, but he glosses over most of the points Welch makes, and limits himself to defending against the easier ones. I remember well the pain engendered by moving a reasonably complex document from MacWord to WinWord and back, from Welch’s post it’s apparent this hasn’t changed much, and from Shaut’s silence on those issues, I suspect it never will.

Welch’s list of problems includes incompatibility with a laundry list of Microsoft technologies, Shaut focuses on IRM, and blames the problem on Apple for not having such a system built into the OS. It’s a valid point, though still arguable, as Welch’s comment was about Word’s interaction with IRM on a MS server and it’s a fair question to ask why Apple should concern itself with facilitating MS software to talk to MS servers.

But I can be gracious and yield the point to Shaut entirely, and still Welch’s complaint will stand. I’d even add something obvious. I can’t believe MS is committed to MacOffice until I see similar capabilities shipping in both versions of Office Professional. Windows version ships a page layout app; Mac version, well, sorry about that. LiveMeeting, Sharepoint, Content Management, all those are pure MS plays that MacOffice can’t use.

As an outsider, the only conclusion I can draw is the one I drew all those years ago. MS doesn’t want me to use its software in a diverse environment. It wants me to be either all Mac or all Windows, and doesn’t want me to mix platforms. Since I’ve always been a firm believer that people should use the tool that best fits their hand, that point of view doesn’t cut it with me.

I’m open to evidence on this point, though. Show me any meaningful effort MS has made to create diversity and I’ll listen. Publishing APIs doesn’t count, though. I want to see actual effort expended; Welch mentioned Services for Macintosh, which is so badly decayed you can smell it even outside of the server room; if you want to connect Macs and PCs, you certainly can’t use anything from MS to do it. You have to use products from Apple or Thursby. The MS attitude seems to be, “You have to spend time, money and effort to talk to us; we won’t spend anything to talk to you.”

And as along as that attitude prevails, I can’t be a MS customer.

2 Responses to Oh, brother!

  1. Two corrections. First, my last name is spelled “Schaut”.

    Second, your statement that I blame Apple for anything is flat out false. What I did was use Apple in a rhetorical example to illustrate the fallacy in John’s argument.

    Third, even Apple is moving away from AFP. Why nick Micorsoft for following suit?

  2. My apologies for the unwarranted name change. I was spelling from memory and I confess I blew it. No ill will intended.

    Your quote was:

    “Well, IRM is a platform technology. Of all the players in this arena, the one for whom the work is most feasible would be the provider of the platform: Apple. If we use the word “feasible? instead of the word “possible,? we can easily reword John’s sentence to read, “If Apple wants the Macintosh to succeed in the enterprise market, then the Macintosh has to become, as much as is technically feasible, as supportive of key technologies as Windows,? without a significant loss in rhetorical value.”

    This appeared to me to say that it made more sense to blame Apple than MS (Apple being “the one for whome the work is most feasible”). If I misunderstood you I apologize.

    As someone who has been supporting Macs in a mixed environment for well over a decade, I can say that what MS has done to make my life easier is almost invisible. Offhand, I can’t think of a single thing, but I’ll grant you there may have been a few items that I either missed or that have slipped my mind over the years. MS has a history of insisting everyone else must do the extra work required to connect to them, rather than doing the work itself to connect to anyone else. If you limit your vision to the MS bottom line, it’s a view that makes a certain amount of sense — make it hard for people to interact with your software, and your existing market share will compel them to move to your software, simply because they need to interact with your users. But it doesn’t consider the idea that if users once escape from that corral, they’ll be less likely to let you entice them into another one. (This is, I think, what’s really behind some of the government requirements for an open document format; they’re acting out of fear of being captured again.)

    Whenever the topic is data portability (moving data from one OS or software package to another) there are always multiple ways of looking at it. Yes, we can choose to point fingers at any particular party involved. What attracted my comment to your piece was that you seemed to be saying that because it was more feasible for Apple to do the work than MacBU, that MacBU should therefore be somehow excused. As a user, this is an attitude I’ve run up against more than once from more than one company, and I’ve never liked it. It doesn’t matter to me, as a user, who is in the best position to do it; the fact it doesn’t get done causes me problems using (in this particular instance) MacBU software, and the only way to escape or lessen those problems is often to avoid using MacBU software.

    Mac Office remains an underfeatured poor cousin to its Windows counterpart. That’s the bottom line. When there’s feature parity, I’ll let up the pressure.

    Oh, and MS didn’t “follow suit” on AFP. For all practical intents and purposes, MS stopped half a decade or more before Apple even started to slow down. I don’t think MS ever got around to implementing AFP over IP, for example, a protocol Apple had moved to 3 major OS releases ago, back when NT stalked the earth. (I can remember that being a particularly large problem for me. The politicians upstairs gave forth the fiat that only IP would be allowed to pass through the routers. Macs could therefore talk to Macs through the company’s routers, but because the MS AFP product didn’t know nuthin’ about no IP, the Macs couldn’t talk to the MS servers without adding Dave — from Thursby — to them all. Had MS actuallty been “following suit” at that time, we wouldn’t have had any issues at all.)

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