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You can fool all of the people, some of the time…

… or ALMOST all of the people! :-)

Those of us who have used their software, or worked in high tech, generally recognize Microsoft to be a toxic mix of evil and incompetence. Nevertheless, I was surprised to read an op-ed article in “mainstream media” that agreed with this view as completely as it does. The article, “Teaching an old dog new tricks: How to fix Microsoft” was written by Blake Snow as a Special to CNN. The author has written for half of the top 20 U.S. media outlets and also works as a software critic and media consultant. I take issue with his “old dog” description, however. My personal experience with “stodginess” is that it is unrelated to age, but VERY related to personality type!

Snow states:

There’s nothing broken about being the fourth-most valuable company in the world, which is exactly what Microsoft is today. That same company, however, is valued at half what it was 10 years ago. It’s not exactly thriving, either.

Regardless if the glass is actually half empty or half full, consumer confidence in Microsoft is at a low. It is ignored or considered uncool by younger generations. Older generations are often required to use the company’s software at work, but turn to Apple or Google devices in their free time.

Snow believes that an indicator of Microsoft broken state is that, even though Microsoft will release its “bold” new operating system, Windows 8 (the company’s biggest product since Windows XP), in less than a month, “…the only thing the tech world has seemingly talked about over the last 12 months is what the iPhone 5 might look like.” :-)

I have to admit – my first reaction to a Windows 8 release is a yawn, followed by a sighed, “Who cares?” :-) When people ask me, after all of the server and desktop operating systems and machines I have experienced, why I like Apple so much, I usually give TWO reasons: 1) superior software and 2) superior hardware. (I also like Solaris a lot, on the server side.)

As for people being “…required <or FORCED 😉 > to use the company’s software at work…” and who use Apple or Google products in their free time, I can only think of the group in which I worked at VeriSign (forced to use Windows XP at the time) a security company that was later hacked in 2010 – all of the members of the group, except the manager, 😉 used Macintosh at home! I remember that, at Sun Microsystems (a former company with its OWN problems, before being acquired by ORACLE), employees were not ALLOWED to connect a machine running XP to Sun’s network unless a program called “XP Neuter” had been run on it FIRST, for security reasons. Google DROPPED its internal use of Windows for security reasons.

But it’s OK. The fact that the Iranians were running Windows allowed the Stuxnet Worm to knock out a heckuva lot of gaseous centrifuges that were enriching uranium, almost certainly for nuclear weapons. So Windows has its uses…. :-)

The article by Snow points to some Microsoft “Hits:” Xbox Live (I admit that Microsoft makes an OK operating system for games, but I don’t believe that you should connect it to networks. :-) ), Kinect (Snow admits it “fizzled.”), and Bing (Sorry, I TOTALLY disagree with calling Bing a “Hit”).

The huge weakness…? Microsoft’s lagging behind rivals in mobile devices.

Snow goes on to make EIGHT suggestions by which Microsoft could prevent its future decline and, perhaps return to greatness, but he and other analysts remain skeptical.

Me too.

Here’s my thinking, if you’ve “held on” this long.

Microsoft, a star of the desktop in corporations, has never understood “the network,” including the Internet. Perhaps the individuals hired (cloned?) by Microsoft do not understand that Sesame Street concept of “C-O-O-P-E-R-A-T-I-O-N.” Networks involve cooperation. The Internet involves cooperation. Social networking involves cooperation. Communication, perhaps the greatest use of networks in general and the Internet in particular, involves cooperation.

An indicator of this corporate personality is the old joke: Q. How many Microsoft engineers does it take to screw in a light bulb. A. None – they just define “darkness” to be the new standard! :-)

For me, it is just another example of Karma. Apple has created superior products for many, many years, and, even though it has not generally won wide acceptance in large corporations (an intelligence test :-) ), despite being responsible for decreased maintenance and HUGE productivity gains, Apple products are now widely used by individual consumers, who are generally much smarter than most corporations. Microsoft has exerted huge (and undue) influence in corporations and had once bullied its way to the top of the desktop, but NOW computing is no longer ABOUT the desktop and is instead about connection to networks from a variety of stationary and mobile devices.

As Charles Malam wrote, “The dinosaurs are not all dead….:-)

Although I do not generally agree with biological comparisons (“in our DNA,” etc.) drawn by businesspeople (after all, most of them never studied biology! :-) ), I will agree that corporations that do not adapt to change will become extinct.

Sometimes, it just takes a very long time….

-Bill at

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