Microsoft – What it is Good For

Updated 20-Sep-2023

Microsoft has gone through a lot, and I've been with them for quite a long time, on and off. I became a MCSE in 1998, with a focus on Web, SQL and Exchange server. At the time we were in the battle for the backoffice, which was vs. Novell and Oracle, mainly, but also Linux in general. The competition was sanctimonious and off-putting, not to mention insulting. Microsoft for us was a way to get control over powerful computing that gave value to organizations and those of us who needed to get work done.

Different days back then, but definitely the feeling was one of upstarts against a less caring order. Sure, I drank the cool-aide, but also deployed 50 servers in 3 years, and helped enable a company grow from 350 to 550 employees, without having to hire a slew of engineers (namely just me, and training the already established help desk).

Off of Windows

I gave up Windows somewhere in 2011 and didn't really look back. For seven years it was an experiment with Mac OSX, and that is finally over and I am happily in Linux land. Over the years it has gotten much, much better, and the distributions are varied, but overall much more mature.

That said, Microsoft does have its uses, and those seem to be increasingly of value.


One thing should not be forgotten is the Marketing aspects of the company. Like Google, it is important to avoid becoming one more set of data points sold to others who want to distort my reality. Therefore, I avoid Bing, but do use Bing Webmaster Tools.

Azure Cloud

I've tried a week of Microsoft's Azure, but was severely off-put by the incessant (nearly daily) upsell approach which it was unable to turn off. Unable! But this of course is not surprising, as the dark days of Microsoft are not completely in abeyance. It would have been nice to try out Azure, but I'll stick with AWS, which definitely doesn't need to spam me, ever.

Github & Visual Studio Code

The purchase of Github, and also the ascent of Visual Studio Code have caught me by surprise. Now I almost have to use Microsoft products, and hope they don't ruin them. With Alphabet putting 100m USD into GitLab, there really is no better alternative.


Skype became a problem and a lot of market share was lost (but the market grew a lot). I've just gotten a Skype number (after maybe 7 years of being off of it) because of some issues with the free GrandCentral (Google Voice) product, which generally (though not always) works, and is free. And... once again no more Skype (until I need it again). I wanted to change my subscription from monthly to yearly. A support person said I should cancel and then create a new yearly subscription and the number would be available. Of course once I cancelled Microsoft hiked the fee to maybe 4x what I was paying. Ha ha, shame on me.


As for LinkedIn, forget it. I'm trying to get off all Social Media, and getting back on this one that I left about 5 years ago, not needed in any scenario (especially with the infiltration of spies).

Microsoft Hardware

And this past week the annoucement of some amazing hardware soon released, and upcoming in a year, makes one go hmmmm. Good Linux folks pretty much get their OS on whatever is available so we see Surface Go and Surface Pro devices running Linux without a lot of problems. The Surface Duo will be Android, in any case (aka, already Linux!).