“In the face of strong competition, Evangelism’s focus may shift immediately to the next version of the same technology, however. Indeed, Phase 1 (Evangelism Starts) for version x+1 may start as soon as this Final Release of version X.”
–Microsoft, internal document
Summary: Microsoft reveals a weakness by talking about a product which it only claims will be available in 2 years from now and for the time being may slow the adoption of its predecessor, Vista 7
IT IS worth starting with the confession that we struggle to post Microsoft news not due to lack of time (I posted a lot in my personal blog yesterday) but because there is hardly a darn thing in the news about Microsoft; Nothing of substance anyway. It’s generally the case that as time goes by, more of Microsoft’s products turn to dust or become products which are merely speculative or vapourware. Companies which are in a healthy state speak about today’s products, those who are hopeful speak about future products (which may never see the light of day), and miserable companies like Novell speak about past products, or legacy.
At the moment, Microsoft is somewhere in the middle, namely that classification of companies which focus on products nobody knows or can test (e.g. Vista 8) and rather than be upset about it, Microsoft critics ought to know that it’s a sign of weakness. When any company advertises a product it cannot sell (i.e. won’t make profit from) because it does not exist or may never exist, it’s a premature sign of defeat. This issue came up in IRC several times.
Some short while ago Microsoft was asked about its loss of market share and the company denied the facts, to which Pogson replied by writing:
SEC, are you listening? Slipping against MacOS on the high-end and GNU/Linux just about everywhere else and a company with huge market cap has a spokesman denying reality publicly.
What does Microsoft do while Vista 7 sales fail to amaze (and as we showed yesterday, Windows profits decline sharply)? It speaks about a mysterious successor, Vista 8. Who speaks about it? Mostly Microsoft boosters [1, 2] like Ina Fried. These people are desperate for any piece of news about Microsoft, especially something positive. Over the past couple of years they had to cover (or selectively ignore) news about people quiting Microsoft, divisions being shut down, products getting cancelled, and rounds of layoffs being announced. It’s not pleasant for people whose career depends on an audience which follows Microsoft.
It was especially amusing to see this post from OpenBytes where Microsoft MVP Da Costa (aka “Lucy” and other pseudonyms) is having a go with some spin. For those who do not know Da Costa, it is a textbook example of Microsoft ‘agents’ who plague blogs critical of Microsoft and insult the writers under all sorts of fake names. We wrote about the subject in:
- Vista 7 Does Have Battery Issues (Microsoft Lied) and Microsoft Gives “MVP” to Man Who Loves “to Argue Against Linux Fanatics”
- AstroTurfing for Vista 7 Still Alive
- Andre Da Costa: Profile of a Microsoft Shill
- Microsoft PR Presented as ‘News’
- “Mr Dee” from CNET Received Laptop Gift/Bribe from Microsoft
- Aggressive Marketing for Vista 7
- Microsoft MVPs Nymshifting, Pretending to be Other Gender, Accepting Bribes, and Libeling GNU/Linux Users
- Apple Lies About “Open Source” (and More on Apple/Microsoft AstroTurfing)
Da Costa’s spin is a warning and a reminder of the fact that Microsoft has presence in GNU/Linux blogs and another known Windows booster in the same comments section (he turns offensive) shows how unpleasant this can be. We too had some Microsoft employees do this to us without disclosing their relationship with Microsoft (employed to do exactly that).
Microsoft says Vista 8 might be out in 2012 (historically, they almost always missed the target dates). Funnily enough, as Tim puts it (he is the one I’ll be doing the audiocast with): “The Mayans predicted that the world would end in 2012. Maybe they were right and Windows 8 will mark the end for Microsoft? Certainly Microsoft has some unhappy people, maybe that’s why people are now seeing other platforms as desirable?” █