miles to go before microsoft sleeps

| 2 Comments

Shelley Powers wrote a thoughtful post yesterday in response to Kathy Sierra's comparison of Microsoft and Apple and the differing expecations each company's users have.

Here's the passage that really got me thinking:

All in all, Apple promises what it can deliver. Apple promises to be easy, and it is; Apple promises to be sexy, and it is. What Apple doesn’t promise is what it can’t deliver: to be a cheap, reliable work horse.

Microsoft, on the other hand, is a company that makes claims based on its weaknesses, rather than its strengths. It makes grand promises about security, and thus virtually guarantees being a target; releasing, on average, one new security bulletin a week. It brags about reliability, when the operating system has to work on devices that range from the powerhouse to the puny. It seeks to win over business based on the stability of its products, and just when developers had created a wealth of applications in one environment (COM, DCOM, and COM+), it abandons it and the developers in favor of something completely new (.NET).

To be blunt: Microsoft has a corporate death wish, but will never be allowed to die and will, instead, thrive. This rather astonishing contradiction is based on the fact that the Windows operating system is about as ubiquitous as the common cold; the kicker is the reason it’s so ubiquitous is that Microsoft makes promises it can’t keep. Soooo, Microsoft gets slapped, true; but it gets slapped all the way to the bank.

Saying there’s a double-standard, then, when people complain about having to re-boot a Windows laptop, as compared to having to re-boot an Apple powerbook implies that both systems are focused on the same audience, and based on the same promises. It ain’t no such thing.

She's absolutely right.

Definite food for thought as Microsoft goes through its latest attempt to reinvent itself.

Plenty of promises left to keep...

2 Comments

something that you must think about with this article, is that it's talking about apples (no pun intended) and oranges.

microsoft makes software.
apple makes hardware that just happens to run apple software.

two TOTALLY different markets.

think about that, and then re-read the article above. it's a common misconception for those who think that they're speaking intelligently about microsoft and apple when they're comparing the two.

I don't think the fact that Apple manufactures hardware as well as software really matters when it comes to consumer perceptions of the product and the company. Shelley's point that each company makes different promises, but deliver differently on those promises, is the real issue.

As someone who's currently working at MSFT, I'm well aware of the multitude of factors that influece the OS and product stability. The fact that there are reasons for the failure to deliver on promises (both implicit and explicit) doesn't change the effect that lack of delivery has on public perception.

And while I don't always agree with Shelley, you're on shaky ground if you accuse her of not being able to intelligently compare the two companies and their products.

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This page contains a single entry by Liz Lawley published on November 13, 2005 11:24 AM.

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