I was thinking this morning about how much we’ve learned to live with Microsoft’s monopoly. I was thinking specifically about email, and the general awfulness of Outlook and Exchange. They’re absolutely horrific, and even worse, they haven’t gotten appreciably better in years. I don’t know of anyone who feels any urgency to upgrade from Outlook 97 or whatever it was to Outlook XP, nor have I heard of one decent feature that makes the upgrade worthwhile. And there are certainly no messaging systems out there that are even positioned to compete with Microsoft. The thing is, though, I don’t even see people clamoring for something better. That’s frustrating. The fact is that competition has stalled in so many areas of the software industry that people don’t even know what rapid innovation even looks like any more. If you take a look at the progress being made on the hardware front, where there’s great competition in RAM, video cards, CPUs, case design, and just about everything else, the pace of progress is amazing. In the software industry, it’s crap. Sometimes I hate this sorry industry. (One great exception is tools for software developers — there’s a lot going on there between Java and Microsoft and all of the free tools that are available.)