Top Five Ways Developers Can Kill the Microsoft Monopoly. Please Take Notes!
Written by David R Jennings   
Sunday, 03 February 2008
Monopoly Game Board

I have watched, listened, and prayed that someone would get their act together and deliver a group of applications that would finally break the monopoly that Microsoft has on corporate America. But alas, no one gets it right. This is puzzling to me because the path seems obvious.

But why you ask, what is so wrong with having Microsoft Office and Windows as the default for business applications? Well..., it's the monopoly mindset. It is the fact that every Microsoft indoctrinated company assumes that everyone else must be Microsoft compliant. They assume that everyone else must integrate with their Microsoft work-flow.

But worse of all these Microsoft reliant companies are stuck in a particular way of doing business that is time consuming, unprofitable, and counter intuitive.

So dear developers... here is my list of ways to make your Non-PC, Non-Microsoft, Non-MS Office products kill the Microsoft Monopoly and be adopted by the Microsoft centric business community.

#5 Create Products That Work With and Like Existing
     Microsoft Products (A must have)

From Windows OS to Microsoft Office applications, be damn sure that if the Microsoft application you are competing with can do it, your product can do it as well or better. (Preferably better).

#4 Quick Adoption Lies in Successful
     Import / Export Functionality (Get it right!)

Like the previous be damn sure that if a non-Microsoft user imports a document, manipulates it, then exports it out as a Microsoft format, that it will function exactly like it would if it had come directly from another Microsoft product. i.e. If you are writing compatibility alerts to show during import or export YOU ARE DOING IT WRONG.

#3 After Compatibility is Achieved... One-up them!
     (But don't go crazy)

This should not be difficult since Microsoft products have a built in crap-o-matic filter that makes most functionality counter intuitive. But here is the rub... DO NOT add so many new whiz bangs that it scares off the Microsoft zombies (I mean their user base). If your new application offers too many whiz bangs this will scare off the weak minded Microsoft drones and we will be back to square one. Choose your whiz bang carefully and make it a good one what works and works well. Then add additional whiz bangs with each product upgrade cycle.

#2 Networking and File Sharing (Make it work!)

This seems to be the buggiest part of the Windows vs. Mac world. I think it is because Windows really REALLY sucks at networking and as a result every IT guy worth his salt comes up with a unique way to make it work better. Therefore the compatibility issues between Mac's and PC arise from the work-a-rounds built into most corporate networks, not the windows systems themselves.

The answer to this problem lies not in just working with Microsoft servers, but in solving the the Microsoft problems for the IT Director. In a perfect world a corporate IT guy could plugin a new Mac or other non-Windows server and know that all the PCs in the office would still see each others files perfectly and share information in a manner to which they are accustom. If you can add to this that the entire office would then run faster and more securely, you will have a winning scenario that even a die-hard Microsoft fan can not refuse. (See #5 above).

#1 Email and Calendaring (A Deal Breaker)

This is probably the most important item on the list. The world now depends on email and office scheduling. Any non-standard, non-Microsoft application that doesn't share email and allow the addition and removal of calendar events with other Windows applications is doomed to failure. DOOMED!

Developers should focus on creating a "rosetta" like application to work with Microsoft Outlook. It should be a middleware application that integrates perfectly with Outlook and allows other non-Microsoft applications to communicate seamlessly with said Outlook. Most non-Microsoft email applications actually do a nice job of out performing Outlook, but they miss the boat when it comes to working with Outlook. To beat them you have to first seamlessly join their network then out perform them at every step.

One More Thing (A New Idea)

The path to killing Microsoft's monopoly, especially relating to Outlook, is to rewrite the problem. Let's face it, the current email standards, including POP, IMAP, and Exchange need to be tossed out the window. They are overly complex and out dated. If you don't believe me... try talking a grandmother through the steps needed to setup an email account. You will quickly go insane! The new miracle application should work with any of the old standards, simplify the setup process, and be more secure than what is currently available. In addition, email and calendaring should ALWAYS go hand-in-hand. Any email that contains a calendar event should be processed accordingly without errors or alerts.

Reinventing email might sound like a pipe dream but a new email / calendaring work-flow will be the silver bullet that kills the Microsoft monopoly. Programmers and developers of the world should unite in this goal to do it better and get it right.

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