Sometimes, just sometimes, I actually spot things

Who knew that a change in Microsoft’s billing structures could be an explanation for secular stagnation?

Microsoft Has Just Decided To Gut Business Software Investment In US GDP

I didn’t until some little switch went off.

20 thoughts on “Sometimes, just sometimes, I actually spot things”

  1. Bloke in Costa Rica

    Windows As A Service. What a fucking spectacularly stupid idea. So your Internet connection goes down and your PC won’t boot. Brilliant. Yet another bullet point on the big list of Why Linux Is Better Than Windows.

  2. Interesting article as always, Tim. A thought, though. ISTM that though it is perfectly true that business consumers are switching from depreciating investments to current expenditure, wouldn’t, or perhaps shouldn’t, it appear in Microsoft’s accounts as a corresponding investment asset? Or, in accounting terms, is that just putting a value on future revenues? The value of the shares will reflect that of course, but do, or should, the accounts?

  3. That’s not the way we build GDP stats though. And people are taking those GDP stats as guides.

  4. Ooh, two ways to to buy BSOD.

    I can barely contain myself.

    Actually, the eradicated the B, but the SOD is still there.

  5. Jesus fecking Christ. Does anybody know how to make the Forbes site readable? IE, edge, Firefox, chrome, Safari- it’s shie in all of them!

    Love your articles tho, Tim. It’s the only reason I bother trying.

  6. BiCR

    At this rate, A Bleedin’ Ballpoint will be Better Than Windows.

    The comments at the El Reg article referenced in Tim’s piece are illuminating. It would seem that for advanced users the only irreplaceable bit of MS software – Outlook aside – is Excel. Libre Office is probably adequate for most businesses. Some commentators recommend the free Apple programs, Pages and Numbers, but from personal experience I can say that LO is better, especially on Linux, where it runs like the clappers.

    The trouble is that so many businesses are hooked on Outlook that they will probably have no option but to pay up.

  7. @Thomas – Where I work users have a choice of Windows, Apple or Red hat Linux. All the project managers would love a Apple but can’t find a project management tool such as MS-project for it.

    I’m on Linux, and Libre Office is fine. It’s all the other crap that gets me down.

    BiCR – I believe that Windows still is installed locally. It’s the ownership concept that’s changed.

  8. @Thomas Fuller

    I am a heavy user of Libre Office and agree that it really would be enough for a lot of people – shame it is not better known.

    Nevertheless, I have eventually given in and subscribed (feels funny saying that, rather than “bought”) Office because of clients sending me Excel sheets that I was having compatibility issues with, and I think it is hard to deny that Excel is the more polished product – even if I prefer the simplicity of LO myself. Pivot tables and so on are rather slicker in Excel, for example.

    In many ways I’ve quite enjoyed the Microsoft experience actually. Lots of OneDrive space, making it easy to access files between different computers or phones; a vastly improved equation editor in Word if I’m feeling too lazy to do something in Latex; Windows 10 is a big improvement on 8 and being able to install it for free has given a new lease of life to some of my older machines.

    I’m not about to become an evangelist for Microsoft, I have some serious concerns about privacy in particular (e.g. personal metadata in Office files, various ad-tracking things, I get enough work without being on LinkedIn but the MS tie-up of that site would have made me jump off it if I had been!) but they do churn out some very solid products and it is understandable why so many people can’t see an alternative to sticking with them.

  9. @ Raffles

    If you haven’t got them already install the uBlock Origin and Ghostery extensions into Chrome (on Windows 7).

    This combination works for me on Forbes

  10. Yup. As you correctly say, it’s not just Microsoft, it’s everyone. Add people like Adobe and Oracle to that list, too.

  11. Nautical Nick raises an interesting point.

    If my company switches from owning a fleet of vehicles to leasing them, then I’m no longer buying & depreciating an asset, but the leasing company is. So overall there’s no net change.

    Applied to software, the question is whether Microsoft’s leasing arm can buy & depreciate software in the same way. Might there even be a tax advantage in doing so?

  12. So your Internet connection goes down and your PC won’t boot.

    No, that isn’t what happens. Good rant, though.

  13. Chris Miller, not yet, but that is in the future. No use of MS products except by paying an ongoing fee.

    And for those who can’t see past it, there are numerous alternatives to Outlook. I run a GroupWise setup, just as easy, scales better (far better) and cheaper.

  14. The way I’ve had the Adobe cloud arrangement described to me would suggest that it forces more expenditure on the software as one effectively has to buy the latest version every time one comes along (albeit with cost spread as a monthly charge) rather than keeping (say) version 7 for a few years and waiting for (say) version 10 before upgrading.

  15. BlokeInBerkshire,

    I think it’s true if you’re basically happy staying on an old version of stuff.

    Personally, I prefer this model. I can easily compare having something to the value it brings. If Photoshop isn’t making me money, I cancel it. I occasionally add Visio onto my Microsoft package, which costs £12/month. When I’m finished with it, off it goes.

    And the other thing is, it stops companies having to create gimmicks to get people to upgrade. Or screwing around with the UI so that it’s clearly different.

  16. BlokeinBerkshire,

    The important distinction is that owned software provides a buffer for lean times.

    If your company leases its tools, and you lose a couple of big clients, you can no longer afford the leases. Without your tools, your other clients will dump you too. The company goes bust and you have to find a regular job instead.

    If the company owns its tools and you lose a couple of big clients, you can keep the smaller clients ticking over while you scrabble around for more work.

    This isn’t always good – if your line of work has entered a secular decline (e.g. Blackberry developer) and no new clients are forthcoming, you’d be better off either starting a new business or finding a regular job. But if the downturn is merely temporary, owning your means of production is a handy buffer.

  17. @EdSnack

    “I run a GroupWise setup, just as easy, scales better (far better) and cheaper.”

    Fucking hell: I made a lot of cash moving people off that family of products (GroupWare) onto AD a decade or so ago.

    They were happy to pay.

  18. Raffles

    I use the Brave web browser and Forbes resds like a dream on that. I used to use chrome and Safari and Firefox, all with add blockers, but Forbes hated them.

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