Microsoft Courts a Catastrophe
By continually showing contempt for customers' concerns, Microsoft is courting a catastrophe.Markets crash, animals attack and pervasive fads are suddenly out of favor. Catastrophe theorists offer controversial models that try to explain such changes; Microsoft Office may soon provide a convincing demonstration of their ideas. Buyers of Microsofts ubiquitous suite, already vexed by costly license terms, may decide theyve had enough after the companys Halloween surprise: the announcement that Office 11 will not run on the Windows 9x base, which supports more than half the present population of PCs.
Corporate users of Windows 9x have many motivations for remaining with that platform. Many are using custom applications and specialized hardwarethe submerged nine-tenths of the iceberg of the PC industrythat cant be moved to Windows 2000/XP without unproductive investment in changing something that works just fine. There could be no worse time to demand an operating system replacementwith attendant hardware upgradesto support a sweeping rip-and-replace of familiar applications.