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Rich Tehrani

[July 23, 2004]


Is Microsoft Slowing Down?




If you can�t say something nice, don�t say anything at all. Isn�t that how the saying goes? I believe us technology writers have to make an exception to this rule. Sometimes the truth hurts. Pain is what I went through when I tried to figure out how to transfer a custom dictionary file from one computer to another. With every few releases of Word, Microsoft (news - alert - quote) moves the custom.dic file, causing undue stress on the user. This file is where many words, like your last name, industry jargon and acronyms live. Wouldn�t it be wonderful if Microsoft had an export/import utility?


Instead, you have to endlessly fish for the file and copy it, but don�t think you will find it easily with the search tool. It doesn�t seem to exist. I checked the file attributes for �custom.dic� and it is not hidden, it just doesn�t want to show itself! Miraculously, you�re given a clue of where the secret location is when entering spell-check, you click on the custom dictionary, only to realize that the file is 5 levels deep. As you can imagine with all that I write, spell-check is my best friend and without a dictionary of acronyms, etc, I am at a total loss. The file itself is just over 20k in size. That�s a lot of acronyms!


On my computer, it is located here:


C:\Documents and Settings\rtehrani\Application Data\Microsoft\Proof.


I understand that Microsoft has to focus on enticing people to upgrade computers for the necessary reason of growth. But if the process is so arduous, shouldn�t they make it easier for the consumer?


Perhaps Bill Gates has more important things to worry about. This week, the company announced that they will give out a $32 billion dollar dividend and double the annual dividend to 3.5 billion. Prior to this point, many technology companies explained that it wasn�t necessary to give out dividends, as they were hot growth companies. Microsoft has signaled that growth may be slowing and they are shifting their focus as to keep the shareholders happy.


Bill Gates will receive 3 billion dollars alone, a staggering amount that he will give to charity. He has also donated $27 billion dollars via the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Rarely do you see Bill Gates praised for his philanthropy, so I will take the opportunity now to praise him�.


What an amazing human being.


Now, back to dividends. This is a significant day in computing and personally, I think a huge part of the slowdown in Microsoft is the use of open-source software from the OS to applications. The rumors abound that Microsoft will come out swinging this year and next by making life for Linux vendors and users very painful via their huge patent portfolio, forcing other vendors to license their patents under threat of lawsuit.


It remains to be seen if things pick up for Microsoft but for now, mark down July 2004 as the month that the largest software vendor in the world admitted that software growth will be slowing down.


Rich Tehrani is TMC's president. He welcomes your comments. Participate in our forums.

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