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It's never ceases to shock me how bad the Microsoft commentary is on HN, not because I don't agree with the conclusions, but rather because it mostly operates on so little information.

For example:

> Microsoft has a wonderfully lucrative cash cow that allows them to not be successful at their other endeavors (with success for this argument being defined as a similar market share as their primary business).

Even though you say "cash cow" I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you mean both Windows and Office. It's fine that you haven't heard of all of MS's other billion dollar businesses, but perhaps that should leave you feeling unqualified to make sweeping commentary?

Here are some products off the top of my head that you've clearly never heard of:

  * Business Productivity Online Suite (BPOS)
  * Exchange
  * SharePoint
  * Office Communications Server (OCS)
  * Dynamics CRM
  * SQL Server
Exchange's market share is comparable to that of Google's market share of search (~70%), so I'm assuming that meets your definition of success based on market share.

BPOS has 40 million paying customers compared to Google Apps' 25 million total customers (which presumably only a tiny fraction of which are paying).

SharePoint is part of the Office division but is an entirely new product driving billions of dollars of revenue.


There's no reason for you to have heard of any of this. I only know all about MS because I work for MS. But there's also no reason for you to talk about how MS reminds you of the "starving artist dilemma."

Every online community has its biases. For HN, it's being anti-MS and pro-webapps, anti-desktop. Less than reddit, but still noticeable. Upmods are pretty worthless when it comes to these subjects.

Getting all your tech news from places like HN or reddit can be harmful, they distort reality significantly.

I do not get the impression that Hacker News readers are anti-Microsoft. It's more that Microsoft is mostly irrelevant for a community interested in startups and web applications.

Indeed, I don't see that much anti-Microsoft people these days. Microsoft is mostly out of the picture entirely.

Paul Graham wrote something similar about 3 years ago so it's not a new deduction: http://www.paulgraham.com/microsoft.html

I actually don't think there's a particularly strong anti-MS bias on HN. There's just a lot of uninformed commentary by people who haven't even heard of more than half of MS's businesses.

I don't think that's the case with any other company or subject.

What other news sites would you recommend to a HN reader to help balance this out?

Metafilter might be a good place. Good news commenting sites with a great user base aren't exactly a dime a dozen.

The problem is with the comments, not necessarily with the news pieces.

I don't recommend any news sites in particular. I would look for the blogs / sites of competent people in the industry I'm interested in and watch those.

"Every online community has its biases." Agree but I have yet to see a pro-MS online community. Maybe in gaming?

By "cash cow", I was referring to the Windows and Office business units as defined by how Microsoft releases their breakdown of finances. I'll cop to forgetting about the Server business unit, not because I'm not familiar, but because I genuinely just forgot about it in my statement.

Of the products you mentioned, the only one I've never heard of is Dynamics CRM. I use all of the others daily.

But you are correct in your general summation of my statement. I made a generalization about Microsoft based on public consensus; that their biggest success is in markets which they've already saturated.

That statement doesn't hold up as well when you actually start to break down all of their products and services.

Context chart break-down: http://www.businessinsider.com/chart-of-the-day-microsoft-op....

I don't think it's a stretch for him to say that Office and Windows are the cash cows---if that is what he meant.

That chart would make me sell/spin-off the Entertainment and Devices division and kill the online services division.

And IBM does $100 billion a year in revenue and has competitors to all of those products listed. What's your point? HN has always had a startup focus - and MSFT/IBM are well out of that range.

And besides - most of those rely on one or both of Windows and Office.

Out of curiosity HN - who are the startups taking on Sharepoint? I don't think I ever hear anything good about it --- but it seems to be growing like a weed.

That is my point. How many times have you seen people offer their expert analysis of IBM on HN? Never? Once?

Box.net is taking on sharepoint. They had a billboard on 101 south that made a direct comparison, which is the only way I know that.

The only competitor that I have looked at was Alfresco - though I don't think they count as a startup anymore.

Look, MS is a powerful company for a lot of reasons. They have a lot of talented people and they have profitable divisions. But the fact is that the market buys stock in companies which they expect to expand into other markets. MS has tried hard to follow on markets it has experience with and so far has generally fallen behind. So when we're talking about MS' ability to enter into markets or to keep its stock prices high, they lose.

But that doesn't mean they're going to close their doors.

But at the same time it doesn't make Ballmer look very good to investors and the directors should be thinking about this since they are responsible to the investors (so is Ballmer).

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