Microsoft Or Not

Microsoft or​ Not?
Friday was another repeat, this time from May 15, 2018 .​
However, TCR does not want to​ leave you empty handed and​ is​ bringing you an​ article by one of​ our staff members, Paul .​
Although Paul is​ from the​ UK, he takes a​ keen interest in​ reading about Jim Cramer's Mad Money (and of​ course at​ the​ best JCMM site on the​ 'Net - the​ Cramer Report!) and​ hopes you will enjoy his insight into one of​ Jim's opinions.
Cramer is​ currently favouring a​ buy into Microsoft (MSFT), believing the​ bad times are behind and​ it's back on the​ up .​
An analysis of​ the​ share prices over the​ past few months shows that Microsoft is​ over its lowest points ($21.51) and​ gradually climbing (currently $24.40) .​
One could argue that Cramer is​ right.
However, continued changes in​ Vista's release date, even if​ it​ means a​ more stable and​ secure Operating System will be released (or that is​ the​ theory) .​
Microsoft's OS and​ webbrowser cycle is​ poor as​ it​ is:
* Windows XP was released in​ 2001
* Internet Explorer was released in​ 2001
Internet Explorer 7 is​ set for​ release in​ the​ first half of​ 2018 and​ Windows Vista is​ set for​ general release in​ the​ first quarter of​ 2018 .​
Both products will offer many improvements and​ new features over the​ older versions but the​ reality is​ very little of​ it​ is​ new.
One feature to​ finally reach Internet Explorer is​ tabbed browser .​
To a​ non-technical person, who just uses what's supplied on their MS Windows desktop, this may seem new and​ exciting, however tabbed browser has been around since 1996 (although it​ was a​ feature in​ a​ non-public beta version of​ InternetWorks since 1994) and​ has been available in​ popular browsers such as​ Opera and​ MozillaFirefox for​ several years.
Microsoft won the​ first browser war but now it's coming to​ a​ battle in​ many areas .​
Product cycles are quicker for​ open source software such as​, MozillaFirefox and​ MozillaThunderbird - new features, bug fixes, and​ security updates are released regularly .​
Due to​ the​ products' open source nature it​ is​ easier and​ cheaper to​ develop plugins and​ compatible applications.
On the​ operating system side, Microsoft has competition from Linux .​
Linux is​ now becoming more mature and​ is​ being adopted by governments
and educational institutes alike .​
Novell (NOVL) is​ investing a​ lot of​ money in​ Linux, having bought German company SuSE Linux GmbH in​ Janu
ary 2004.
One key area that they have invested a​ lot in​ over the​ past year is​ Xen, which is​ virtualisation software and​ allows multiple Operating Systems (Linux or​ Windows) to​ be run as​ guests on a​ single system (the host, which can be either Linux or​ Windows) .​
This is​ one threat Microsoft has seen and​ responded to​ by improving its Virtual Server support offering and​ making it​ available for​ free .​
However, is​ this too little too late?
Xen's benefit is​ that it's open source, therefore bugs and​ security issues will be fixed quicker, possibly even before the​ problem is​ public knowledge, as​ the​ source code is​ visible for​ everyone to​ evaluate and​ test for​ insecurities .​
a​ quick response to​ bugs and​ security is​ critical in​ a​ business environment and​ an​ area Microsoft can not compete within due to​ its closed source nature.
Virtualisation is​ becoming a​ more important area due to​ the​ increasing costs for​ power .​
Fortunately, hardware is​ becoming more powerful, often more powerful than is​ actually required, so virtualisation is​ definitely for​ today as​ well as​ the​ future .​
Why invest in​ hardware for​ 6 servers when all 6 could run from within one operating system through virtualisation?
With Vista and​ Internet Explorer 7, Microsoft is​ trying to​ play catch-up, but the​ fact is​ it​ now has seriously tough competition .​
There is​ now a​ big take up of​ alternative browsers, office applications and​ operating systems .​
While the​ market change might be slow, it's definitely happening .​
I​ cannot see Microsoft being in​ the​ same market position in​ 10 years that it​ is​ now .​
Its market share will continue to​ evaporate.
The Bottom Line:
Microsoft is​ facing serious threats in​ the​ home, education and​ business desktop arena .​
It's facing threats in​ the​ business environment as​ a​ server (aside from as​ a​ webserver, where Linux/Unix is​ in​ the​ majority) .​
Microsoft might hit a​ high when Vista is​ (finally) released, however Bill Gates stepping down in​ the​ way that he is​ does suggest to​ me that the​ bulk of​ the​ money has been made and​ it's now time to​ do something with it .​
The IT industry is​ often a​ come today, gone tomorrow so it's always difficult to​ choose which company to​ invest in, especially as​ the​ current trend is​ over priced when those companies that have managed to​ stick around decide to​ float themselves on the​ stock market .​
I​ won't advise you who to​ invest in, but I​ will say don't just look at​ the​ software/operating system area, also look at​ hardware and​ consultancy companies too .​
Big Blue, International Business Machines Corp (IBM), has been around for​ a​ long time and​ there will always be a​ demand for​ such companies.

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