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Microsoft Category Killer

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A product or service that is positioned by Microsoft as the end-all and be-all of a particular category. They don't always succeed in completely replacing all competing software, but they often result in the bankrupting of small companies that are in the competition because it is difficult to compete with Microsoft's limitless resources (advertising, product-tying to MicrosoftOffice MsOffice or MsWindows, just plain money to give away for free).

I won't argue that MS did things to help kill off competing products, but in some cases mentioned above, the different product owners did significant damage to themselves. Netscape was not modular and couldn't be embedded in other products. Word Perfect hitched all their efforts on OS/2 and pretty much ignored Windows, not to mention WP 6 was a piece of crap. Word Star took too long to adopt things like directory support, WYSIWYG, etc., and was really killed by Word Perfect DOS, not by MS. Borland tried to reinvent itself several times, including changing its company name, IMO, this confused the market. -- Craig Berntson
I am going to be a bit harsh here, but why is this here? I agree with everything said, but what is the point? If their is no point, then maybe this topic should just be deleted. If there is, then I think it needs to be made a bit more clear (or am I just being thick?) -- ?CFK
FWIW, this is how I'm beginning to feel about the whole law suit against MS. So? People use their products more than anyone else, whats the big deal. So CompanyX can't compete with MS, maybe they should try harder. I think the mindset is that Microsoft doesn't have to do any work and can still beat their competeitors. I think thats BS. MS works really hard and put out alot of great tools (and some not so great ones, but guess what, they don't dominate in their categories). -- Mike Helland
From memory, Ashton Tate was already a gonner when VFP came out... by then MS had owned FP for ? 2 years and dBase was Borland, I think.
As for the rest of it; people either believe that competition and innovation is stifled by overwhelming monopoly, or they don't. Whatever people think, it is "our" behaviour that causes the effect- i.e. it was xBasers flocking to FP2.6 and VFP that did away with dBase. Can we blame MS for harnessing and profiting from our behaviour? Hardly. -- John Ryan
Formula: enter a market, kill off the the competition, exit market after laying it to waste and crushing all opposition by abuse of monopoly power. No complaints?
Correct, except the part about "exit market after laying it to waste". Name one.-- Steven Black
Can you spell VFP?
VFP is not a market, its a product. -- Mike Helland
VFP is in the Database market and I don't see Microsoft leaving that market at all. MS has VFP, Access, and SQL Server as products in the database market. Jim BoothOffsite link to
Actually I see VFP as more of a development tool than a database. Where VFP database is used, you'd expect to see development wrapping it.
That MS is "committed to the Development Market" is a truism that makes little difference to what has happened to the previously well-defined xbase market. The xbase experience fits the above description pretty well. -- John Ryan
I don't get it. How did Microsoft exit the xBase market after laying it to waste? That's a rather dramatic and fabricated interpretation, no? From where I sit, Microsoft dominates the xBase market, and it's not leaving the segment anytime soon. Moreover xBase is just one facet of VFP's mindshare, a statement of origin rather than one of its current position. That's just my opinion and I could be wrong, but I doubt it.-- Steven Black
SB- the xbase market is gone. VFP's xbase roots are an irrelevancy or even possibly a negative in 2002. xbase was once the king/queen of development options and "FP vs dBase" the battle of the titans. Their demise was never on technical grounds, driven by politics and marketing until only MS has a mainstream tool in the area.
The "lay to waste" description isn't mine, but the once awesome xbase arena is certainly down to one. Sure MS continues to support this solitary player but it also does its best to promote the excitement in the theatre next door... and the audience (and we) respond to that. -- John Ryan
VFP represents the last bastion of the mid-range database/application development environment market. That's the category Microsoft is bent on destroying. This isn't about xBase, it's about the huge segment of the "database" market that once thrived with products like dBase, Clipper, Clarion, Delphi, FoxPro etc. I think you all know exactly what I'm talking about, and it's ridiculous to lump products like Access and SQL Server into this crowd, denying the existence of a very substantial and distinct category of which VFP is a part. It's also ridiculous to pretend that Microsoft is allowing this segment to thrive with its ongoing "commitment" to VFP. What a joke! Isn't it completely obvious what's going on here? They can't be too blatant about it, so they pretend to support VFP with one hand, while they hold it back with the other. Pretty soon the last vestiges of any competition wither and die, and then oops, well I guess this segment just happens to disappear altogether. Didn't everybody know we'd really be better off paying annual licence fees for SQL Server. So what if everyone loses, so long as Microsoft wins, right? Hey, this is business, so anything goes if it helps the bottom line, right? All's fair in love and war, but what about business? Say, isn't that what anti-trust laws are all about? Doesn't the notion of a competitive marketplace figure into this somewhere? Are the interests of society as a whole really being served by allowing Microsoft to kill off every category of software that doesn't fit into their plans for world domination? VFP isn't dying a natural death, it's getting a daily dose of arsenic from Microsoft, and if you guys are too dense to see that, you'll just have to wait for the autopsy report.
First of all, it would be nice to have an open discussion without any anonymous users, but just because xBase used to be the "king" of data base apps it doesn't mean MS "killing" xBase is a bad thing. What langauges got left behind? The ones that didn't go OO. Thats not MS's fault, in fact, according to your logic you should be praising MS for making it OOP allowing it to stick around while its competition died. Also, as far as databases go, VFP's database is not the future. Sorry, thats the truth. The complete lack of security and maintainablility issues compred to MSDE or SQL Server make this xBase product a tough sell, especially in the middle of Microsoft's new "awakening" in security with "trustworthy computing". BTW, If my history is wrong, let me know. -- Mike Helland
What happened to xbase has little to do with OO. Poor old dbase was OO since 1995, just like VFP. Meanwhile VB only became OO with the penultimate release and VB was certainly never "left behind" as a result.
As for database hard sell; my company has used SQL Server and Oracle backends since 1995-1996 and our need to defend VFP became less and less as we used it more and more as a development tool rather than a database.
Is the demise of xBase a good or bad thing? Not sure. Certainly IT seems to be the only industry allowed to depreciate perfectly good technology and start over every couple of years at the customer's cost. Perhaps a touch of conservatism would do us good... it would certainly reduce bugs and improve reliability. -- John Ryan

I just recently trained some public sector employees on SQL Server access from VFP. They were awestruck by the ease and simplicity of remote views AND the choice to use SQL dataset or xBase record oriented data manipulation from there. VFP database is an unsecure, weak and unreliable data store for anything but small apps, but the VFP cursor manipulation with SQL backend data can't be beat. If for nothing else, I sure hope VFP stays around for a long time for the middle tier. I see its benefits mainly in the middle tier data manipulation, secondarily as a way to create self contained and inexpensive database program solutions. -- PerttiKarjalainen
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( Topic last updated: 2003.01.24 08:27:15 PM )