“I laugh every time I read about a new ‘iPod killer’ thingamajig in the news… Every time these wannabes put out another press release on Business Wire, I think about all the profits their advertising agencies will be making, launching the new players around the world. And now Microsoft is getting into the game with Zune,” Angus Wong writes for About This Particular Macintosh (ATPM).
Wong writes, “But aping the iPod is not the biggest game in town. I’m seeing people trying to replicate Apple’s success in hardware design and operating system design. These are, by and large, the same people who were clueless about the original iMac. (‘Why would anyone want a computer in a specific color?’) Now we see Dell and other PC OEMs burn midnight oil churning out ‘cool looking’ PCs from third-world factories. Meanwhile, Microsoft is ‘improving’ the user experience with Vista, which as usual tries to look like the Mac OS on the surface. Us experienced users will know that beauty is more than pixel-deep and, like almost all of Microsoft’s applications, once you start trying to use the damned thing, you’ll likely trip on the crazy arrangement of functions, icons, and ‘features’ that seemingly only Microsoft can so badly mangle. I continue to be surprised that a company with the resources and talent that Microsoft has is able to produce such lousy products. Even startups, or solitary shareware authors (not to mention unpaid open source gurus) produce far better software than the largest computer company on Earth.”
Wong writes, “I suspect the ‘cancer’ that pervades Microsoft is not that there aren’t intelligent people working within its organizational bowels. I’m sure Microsoft hires excellent people. So I can only conclude the problem lies with the design philosophy of the company. Looking back, this shouldn’t be surprising. A company that, instead of innovating, used strong arm tactics in the market to push its wares, probably finds it easier to just add a feature to a product in the quickest way possible, than to think carefully how best to add that feature, so as not to slow down release. Revenue is generated through upgrades, so the more versions people buy, the better it is for the bottom line.”
Wong writes, “I bring this up because I see Apple headed that way. Not in the same godawful execution as Microsoft, but because I foresee astounding success with Apple. True character is revealed in how you live your life after you win the lottery. Google’s tried to articulate a ‘no-evil’ stance which has already been compromised. Linux tries hard, and is still trying. Now it’s time to see how our favorite computer company faces up to its destiny.”
Full article here.