October 2, 2007

Vista: 1 year later

Ok, it hasn't really been a year - the Vista launch was "officially" January 30, for consumers, with the actual release tepidly launching 60 days earliers to businesses and developers on November 30.

But its interesting to note the contrast betwixt Vista's reception and Halo 3 (which just launched September 25).

I don't think there's anything wrong, per se, with Vista (other than the ridiculously massive gap between it and the last major OS release from Microsoft) - and there's much to recommend - but, it reaffirms for me that OS'es increasingly won't matter. Note that although Vista projections are down from MS, XP projections are up - the message seemingly that one's just as good as the other.

I don't mean that snidely - as computing has moved from novelty to utility, consumer interest will be be driven by experience, not capability. That is, "What have you done for me lately?", not "What could you do for me lately?" - which explains Halo's, um, halo.

Natural enough, but it probably has some significant implications in how Microsoft will/should think about the future of its platform... generating infrastructure that creates platform lock-in will be increasingly difficult.

9 comments:

Patrick said...

I think they're still fairly good in the "platform" space but they're missing the boat on a real web platform. They have always done a REALLY good job catering to the development community with their toolsets and API's (which I'd argue is really the platform). Yeah, they tend to be tied to a particular rev of their OS or application but it's not really the OS that is driving the success.

They are doing it again with the XBox and XNA by basically providing a familiar tool chain and API model to the hoards of developers they have already enslaved with their tools (and I'll gladly admit I'm one of them - you can pry the MS IDE from my cold dead fingers). Cross-platform in that case really means the 360 and vista but if you're in that space thinking about building something, it's basically a no-brainer.

Perhaps because it doesn't provide a natural tie back to one of their products or because they just haven't been good about it, they haven't been able to bring the same ease of development to the web community. If they built a bunch of js libraries, integrated them into their IDE and made development incredibly easy with them I think they'd have a pretty good lock on web development quite quickly, but there's really nothing in it for them (unlike with Silverlight which gets tied back to their OS).

Just my 2 cents anyway.

Anonymous said...

platform just isn't worth that much: Joe Hewitt's Parakey sold for, like 2M? and what was ocp's worth?

Anonymous said...

Re: parakey...

A platform with no users isn't worth much...

Contrast to facebook's valuation increase once they opened up to third parties....A platform w/ users and distribution is worth quite a bit.

Anonymous said...

you were absolutely right, the value is in the user and distribution. I've seen totally closed blob of users with no 'platform' whatsoever being valued pretty high: MySpace, cable system acquisitions, wireless deals... the platform play just isn't interesting in this cycle. We are years past when technical issues and APIs are the barriers for growing a business.

Anonymous said...

ps: I don't think FB's jump in value has anything to do with 'opening to 3rd party', it has all to do with opening up to us geezers who actually have money to spend. But as you can see I am pretty biased against this technical openness thing.

Sree Kotay said...

Two thoughts:

1) I think Microsoft may still surprise people in the web space - the developer tool chain has always been their "secret" weapon, and its the most attractive part of Atlas and Silverlight

2) The point about "open-ness", in my mind, boils down to 3 things:
a) Knowledge chain breadth (how diffusely can you couple/decouple and develop your product features)
b) Real value vs. Artificial value (what's the SMOP vs. actual value prop), and
c) Symbiotic lock-in (how do you create value for others AND yourself by providing some foundational value prop)

Sree Kotay said...

Re: Parakey

No idea what they went for, but (a) I doubt it was $2M, and (b) even if it was, depends on the valuation of Facebook at the time the deal was done...

Clearly we're in a bubble (or partial bubble) at least - the root measure for me is still P/E ratio; I'm a cynic.

But (significantly) even in the best (most rational) of times, value creation is about what you can convince people you're worth, not usually what they're measurably worth.

Just look at Dior, Mercedes, (almost) any A-list celebrity (from Katie Couric to Janet Jackson to whomeever)... mostly its about the illusion of value.

Anonymous said...

less than 4M, July:
http://www.techcrunch.com/tag/parakey/

I am with you on this, value is a perceptive thing, but over time it will be tested and revalued, eBay's Skype writedown being exhibit A, Oh yeah TWX's 54B writedown of something else a few years ago as exhibit B.

Value of those developer tool chain? The open source movement pretty much destroyed whatever there for the corporate builders of these things right?

Anyhow, this is a dead subject, let's not waste our time on this, visit this blog only for your part 2 of insider view of the cable world really... That's something that's actually interesting.

Sree Kotay said...

You gotta love the Internet - lots of people enjoying the view from the cheap seats :)