MozillaZine

Did MS Invent Anything?

Saturday October 17th, 1998

George Giannukos writes in with a link to an interesting article at PCWeek regarding Microsoft. George writes, "This is the first computer site telling it how it is! Finally, a computer site that is brave enough to bash Microsoft for all its illegal, anti-competitive practices..."

We've all known this for a while, but George is right - this is the first time I've seen this detailed in a major industry magazine.

On a side note, since the MS antitrust case directly affects this community, we'll be doing sporadic updates on the state of the case. Since most industry news sites don't have a talkback feature, we'll be linking to major updates from this site so we have a forum to talk.


#20 Re:Microsoft innovations Did MS Invent Anything?

by Tim Maroney <tim@maroney.org>

Wednesday November 4th, 1998 12:13 PM

You are replying to this message

Three remarkable claims here with which I must disagree:

1. Microsoft never created anything good by itself.

2. Microsoft created the idea of an OS licensed to various HW makers.

3. Microsoft created GUI keyboard shortcuts.

My responses are:

1. Microsoft is generally an imitative company. IN the last few years, however, they have created three good user interface innovations.

1a. Background spelling checking with underlines and contextual menus. This is one of the best UI features I've seen, actually, and it is a Microsoft innovation.

1b. The Windows task bar. It largely obviates the need for a Windows menu, is passive and non-intrusive while handy, and also includes the useful alt-tab switching function. A Microsoft innovation with which Mac OS has yet to really catch up (8.5's app switcher is lame).

1c. Wizards. They're overused now but for some things they're excellent -- they provide self-documenting behavior and task walk-through. Mac OS has imitated them in its assistants.

2. UNIX was licensed on multiple hardware vendors' platforms for years before DOS even existed. For Gates to claim this was a Microsoft innovation is amazing.

3. GUI keyboard shortcuts were part of the original Mac UI standards in 1984, long before Windows even existed. I don't know who said Microsoft invented them but I wouldn't buy any stock in that person's company....

So to summarize, Microsoft has innovated, and innovated well, but not in the ways that Gates and others have claimed.

Tim Maroney, <tim@maroney.org>