Summary: How people with vested interests in Microsoft help rewrite the “truth” about the company
MR. Brass, who used to serve as a vice president at Microsoft, openly said that the company is not innovative [1, 2]. The Microsoft boosters have attempted to spin around what he said (Microsoft has formally responded too), usually without any disclosure or indication of their prior convictions. They are essentially defending crime and destruction of innovation.
Bill Snyder, Microsoft's shareholder and longtime booster who is occasionally attacking Microsoft's competitors (including Free software), turns out to be among those who are trying to override what Brass said. The ending of Snyder’s article is particularly telling:
[I]t’s worth remembering that Microsoft deserves a vote of thanks along with the well-deserved brickbats.
Microsoft “deserves a vote of thanks”? Really?
This man is delusional. Microsoft’s corrupt history speaks for itself, but it is Microsoft shareholders like Bill Snyder who are attempting to rewrite history and IDG which offers the platform. This would not be the first time that IDG is doing this.
On the other hand, here is another new opinion piece titled “Microsoft’s reality problem”
In other words: What really matters is that a billion people use your products, even if they mostly suck. Which means that, despite getting beaten like a pair of bongos in every new market it has entered over the last decade, Microsoft still hasn’t woken up and smelled the Starbucks.
It’s not surprising. I remember sitting in a conference room with a couple of bright Micro-geeks more than 10 years ago. This was around the time Bill Gates had his sudden inexplicable memory lapses on the stand during one of Microsoft’s various antitrust trials, and when companies as conservative as Compaq were volunteering information about how Microsoft had strong-armed it into dropping the Netscape browser from its line of Presario PCs.
I asked them what they thought of these things.
Yes, one of them admitted, “We have a perception problem.”
You don’t have a perception problem, I said. You have a reality problem. And the reality is that, despite whatever people living inside the Microsoft bubble might think, the rest of the world thinks you’re a bully. And nobody likes bullies.
Another of Microsoft’s big reality gaps is its insistence that it’s one of the great tech innovators. Sure, Microsoft Research can go head to head with the best labs in the world; it’s done some amazing things. But Microsoft’s success is built on imitation, not innovation. Nearly everything it does, somebody else did first and usually better — from graphical interfaces to music players, personal finance software, search engines, Web portals, virtualization software, phones, and PDAs, you name it.
I’ve long felt the worst possible thing that happened to Microsoft was when a federal appeals court overturned Judge Thomas Jackson’s decree to split the company in two. Actually, it probably should have been split into four or five parts. Imagine a world where Office development could continue unencumbered from Windows, where Microsoft’s Internet division could be as nimble as a Web startup, or its consumer electronics as appealing as anything coming from Sony or — dare I say it? — Apple.
Maybe that’s overstating it. But being enormous didn’t help the dinosaurs in the end, and it’s not helping Microsoft now.
As Glyn Moody points out in IDG:
Whatever you think of these recent happenings, one thing is clear: not a single one of the most exciting events in computing – Buzz, gigabit/second fibre networking, iPad, Android and the rest – has come from Microsoft. Indeed, the way in which Google and Apple have completely drowned out any news from that company for months on end is without precedent and, I believe, a major watershed.
As for the digital music market, Microsoft’s Zune has practically become a by-word for electronic embarrassment, so bad and unloved is the system. And even in a sector where Microsoft’s market-share is more respectable – that of gaming consoles – the infamous “Red Ring of Death” problem threatens to tarnish its reputation there, too.
This leaves the mainstream computing sector as Microsoft’s stronghold. Despite constant attempts by pundits (including this one) to descry a “Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop”, Windows shows little sign of losing its grip on the desktop. But what has become increasingly clear is that most computing will be conducted through either the browser – for cloud computing services, for example – or through smartphones like the iPhone and Android devices. Both render the desktop operating system completely moot (not least because Firefox is rapidly moving towards parity with Internet Explorer in many national markets), so whether it’s Windows or GNU/Linux that sits at the bottom of the stack is really irrelevant.
Microsoft’s results agree that the decline continues [1, 2, 3, 4]. The company can lie and spin all it wants, but if those who lend money to Microsoft rely on false information, then they too might let the company sink at a later stage. █
“By this stage of the game, even Goldman Sachs, longtime advocate of Microsoft, had removed Gates’s company from its recommended list and replaced it with Netscape.”
–Barbarians Led by Bill Gates, a book composed
by the daughter of Microsoft’s PR mogul