How to turn Microsoft around

In his blog post, “How to Turn Microsoft Around,” Thomas Hawk writes, “More than all of this though is the informal anecdotal evidence I’ve been seeing of a shift from the Windows operating system to the Mac. I wrote about my own conversion last year. In the past few months I’ve been completely surprised at some of the names of people that have privately emailed me saying that they were switching as well. And then earlier this week over coffee with one of the top technology journalists in the world (no, not Walt Mossberg, but close up there) what did he pull out of his bag? A brand spanking new sleek black MacBook Pro less than a week old.”

“Now the numbers are not necessarily going to reflect this yet, but when your key influencers, bloggers, journalists, etc. begin abandoning Windows and moving to the Mac it’s like a wave and over time this wave can actually threaten Microsoft’s monopoly on the operating system. Look for Apple’s numbers to continue advancing here in the months ahead,” Hawk writes. “So the question becomes how should Microsoft turn this around?”

Hawk looks at the Windows user experience, “It’s not good. Especially when compared to a Mac… Apple has the luxury of being able to test limited and known configurations on their products. Combine this with an almost manic commitment to user experience and you get a better product… Microsoft of course can’t just reverse course and piss off all of their OEMs and start building their own PC, but what they can do is create a Microsoft certification whereby thoroughly tested systems receive a special Microsoft seal of approval.”

Hawk looks at Microsoft’s, “Now it is pretty much dead.” Hawk writes about Microsoft’s big pile of dirty cash and how they need to buy “cool” companies, starting up a San Francisco-based “think tank of sorts,” and getting “their evangelism back on track. Scoble was a big loss for Microsoft. Gartenberg would have been an interesting choice to try and fill his shoes but now he’s gone as well.”

Full article here.
Apple StoreAll very interesting, but it begs the question: why bother? Why spend all the time, capital, and effort needed to make Microsoft like Apple, when Apple already exists? Microsoft has always been a follower; one can only image what absolute garbage would flow forth from a Microsoft think tank when they have decades now of looking to 1 Infinite Loop for their R&D. Even if you could turn the Titanic around, get it into dry-dock, and attempt to retrofit the thing, it’ll still be the Titanic. All of that effort isn’t worth it when the Queen Mary 2 is already berthed in Cupertino.

And, puleeze, a Microsoft seal of approval? Is Hawk nuts? A seal of approval only works when offered by a respected entity. Microsoft is known for badly-hewn fake Macs, a bloated office suite, a fecal-colored non-selling fake iPod, unexplained and incomprehensible crashes, shoddy security software that doesn’t secure their insecure OS, the worst browser on earth, executives blinded by hubris, layer upon layer upon layer of bureaucracy, being Google’s minor league, a game console they’ve never sold for a profit, failed initiatives like watches and ultra-portable PCs, patches, viruses, overbearing DRMs, monopoly abuse, an idiotic dancing CEO/buffoon, and pure frustration. A Microsoft seal of approval would be a product’s kiss of death. Plus, we don’t think there’s even room left for any more stickers on most ugly-ass PCs. As we’re fond of saying, “The first time Microsoft produces something that doesn’t suck will be when they start making vacuum cleaners.”

Related articles:
Analyst: Windows Vista UI is step back in Microsoft’s pursuit of Apple’s Mac OS X – February 27, 2007
Gates: ‘Windows Vista’s had incredible reception’ – February 21, 2007
The Register reviews Microsoft’s Windows Vista: ‘Don’t buy it’ – February 20, 2007
Forbes: ‘Windows Vista utterly unimaginative, internally discordant and woefully out of tune’ – February 09, 2007
Digit: Don’t buy Vista; Microsoft may be driving millions to stick with XP or move to Apple Mac – February 05, 2007
TIME Magazine: Microsoft’s Windows Vista ‘an embarassment to the good name of American innovation’ – February 02, 2007
Microsoft’s Windows Vista: Five years for a chrome-plated turd – January 30, 2007
Digit: ‘Microsoft’s Windows Vista may be the best reason yet to buy an Apple Mac’ – January 29, 2007
Pioneer Press: Windows Vista shows ‘Apple is an innovation engine; Microsoft, not so much’ – January 29, 2007
Windows Vista disappoints, so get a Mac – January 29, 2007
CNET Reviews Windows Vista: Is that all? Clunky and not very intuitive vs. Mac OS X; warmed-over XP – January 24, 2007
Mossberg: Microsoft’s Windows Vista offers lesser imitations of Apple’s Mac OS X features – January 18, 2007
Windows Vista disappointment drives longtime ‘Microsoft apologist’ to Apple’s Mac OS X – January 17, 2007
InformationWeek Review: Apple’s Mac OS X shines in comparison with Microsoft’s Windows Vista – January 06, 2007
NY Times’ Pogue reviews Microsoft’s Windows Vista: ‘Looks, Locks, Lacks’ – December 14, 2006
Dave Winer: ‘Microsoft isn’t an innovator, and never was – they are always playing catch-up’ – December 01, 2006
Apple’s Mac OS X Leopard is 64-bit done right, unlike Microsoft’s Windows Vista kludge – August 14, 2006
Microsoft Windows Vista: If you can’t innovate… try to impersonate Apple’s Mac OS X – August 10, 2006
Analyst: Apple’s new Mac OS X Leopard sets new bar, leaves Microsoft’s Vista in the dust – August 08, 2006
Microsoft botches another copy job: Windows Vista Flip3D vs. Apple Mac OS X Exposé – June 26, 2006
Windows Vista rips-off Mac OS X at great hardware cost (and Apple gains in the end) – June 13, 2006
Computerworld: Microsoft Windows Vista a distant second-best to Apple Mac OS X – June 02, 2006


  1. M$ has already tried the “seal of approval” concept. Remember “Made for Windows 95” which was replaced by some message for windows 2k and then by “Designed for Microsoft Windows XP”
    (I’m sure they have one for Vista too.)

    Anyway – the Dell I use at work with a 2ghz single core pentium 4 and 512mb ram that has that “Designed for Microsoft Windows XP” sticker on it doesn’t actually work well with Windows XP…

    A certification program only works well if it’s used to show that something has been tested to work well instead of just being used as a marketing tool.

  2. I love the seal of approval part — 10 versions of Vista now. Then add 10 more for Offical Microsoft Seal of Approval PCs.

    Vista Home Basic Edition
    Vista Home Basic Edition for OMSAP
    Vista Home Premium Edition
    Vista Home Premium Edition for OMSAP

    Microsoft keeps telling us, they’re all about choice.

  3. Thorin –

    Forget the little stuff – you’d only piss them off!

    A few Specters or a flight of BUFF’s ought to to the trick!

    Do you think Microsoft uses Windows for their own security system?

    MW – face – as in time to face the music…..

  4. MDN’s take is kind of harsh.

    Why turn Microsoft around? Because if there are two companies offering good products it spurs more innovation and lower prices. The consumer wins.

    Admitedly having Apple as the dominant platform would be a hell of a lot better than having Microsoft, but it’s still better to have more good (and the important word there is good!) products and choices.

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