Recently, I was reading InfoWorld (which I sadly don’t do often, although it is an amazing source of information) when I saw an article by J. Peter Bruzzese of the Enterprise Windows blog called Microsoft in the Media: Unfair and unbalanced.
In this article, Bruzzese discusses a “growing trend”: that “if Microsoft does something a little off, it gets bashed to the ground for it. But if Google, Apple, or Facebook… misstep, it generally gets mild reprimands and even support from the media and those drinking the Kool-Aid.”
He notes that just about every Microsoft idea has gotten shot down, and facts warped to support anyone but Microsoft. Take the good products it has made. See any focus on Azure? Zune? Xbox? I think even anti-Microsofties can agree that they company has made some good products, but Microsoft itself continues to exploit its own vulnerabilities.
While Apple and Google choose to go the consumer route, Microsoft has also had a lets-go-business-only streak as of lately. While Google decided to popularize its half-baked office suite Google Docs by making it consumer-friendly and available easily to its existing customers, Microsoft’s platforms are closed to the public, hard to access, and buggy on just about any browser other than Internet Explorer. So, if you want to go Microsoft, it’s all or nothing.
Perhaps it just has bad PR, but I think that there is a sort of arrogance that seems to permeate the entire company.
Apple, Facebook, and Google have this arrogance, too. I’ve dealt with their sales reps, their developers, and their managers. But at least they know how to hide it. Every misstep is overlooked as they manage to maintain a fluent dialogue with their customers.
If they do want to force you to go all or nothing, they do it in stages. They sell to you over time, pushing you closer and closer to switching entirely to their platform. Or, they just ‘really, really encourage’ you to switch — again, and again, and again — almost subliminally.
There is also another problem, in my opinion. Technology has politics, too. There are the liberal go-getters, the ones who put everything on the line, all or nothing — and then the more conservative companies, the ones that stick with a traditional game plan.
I’m not talking about US politics here, but let’s admit it: Most consumers tend to hold the more liberal companies in higher regard. We recognize that it takes a lot of courage to take risks in the tech sector, and we seem to have some sort of personal connection to these companies. We end up rooting for them, championing their innovation, and trying to convince ourselves that their mistakes are only small hitches on a smooth road.
We consistently think that companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook have some sort of ‘plan’ for us, like they know better. Therefore, if they make any mistakes, they must have ‘planned’ to make them, and they are just ahead of their time. It’s exactly what they could have wished for. We are becoming polarized Apple, Google, or Facebook fanboys, and we are taking up positions in these tech politics like we do in our society, establishing ourselves as Democrats, Republicans, and Libertarians; we are shaping the technology industry in our image!
Tech bloggers are just smitten with Apple and Google, even though their days of risky innovation are over. They are too big to do that anymore. But, they had a good start — and that’s how we’ll remember them. Microsoft has seemingly always been involved in controversy, whether it really did steal ideas from Steve Jobs or released buggy operating systems not ready for prime time. During these times, Apple and Google championed themselves as alternatives, adding to the anti-Microsoft mindset.
These companies realized long ago that their real war was not between themselves, but rather Microsoft vs. Everyone Else. They have worked hard, together, to make sure Microsoft has trouble.
It’s just good business for them.