Microsoft attempts to put lipstick on their pigs

Philip Elmer-DeWitt blogs for Fortune, “Let’s hope Steve Ballmer isn’t on Needham’s mailing list, because analyst Charles Wolf’s two-page description of Microsoft’s efforts and its products may be most dismissive ever produced by a Wall Street analyst. He even goes so far as to evoke the old lipstick joke that got Barack Obama in so much trouble with Sarah Palin during the primaries.”

MacDailyNews Take: We hope Ballmer isn’t on Needham’s mailing list, either. Not in order to to spare Monkey Boy’s feelings, but so that he goes full steam ahead with his plans and blows even more of Microsoft’s ill-gotten money on what are blatant DOA failures to everyone but him. May Steve Ballmer remain Microsoft’s CEO for as long as it takes!

Elmer-DeWitt continues, “‘Microsoft has always touted itself as an innovator,’ Wolf begins in a section entitled The Sincerest Form of Flattery. ‘But the company’s true genius has stemmed from its ability to copy the ideas of others.’ And the company it’s most fond of copying, he says, is Apple.”

MacDailyNews Take: Actually, Me-too-soft’s true genius is not exactly in its ability to copy others. Microsoft are rather poor copiers; how else to explain Vista or Zune, which are slipshod copies of the Mac OS X GUI and iPod+iTunes respectively. Microsoft’s genius is convincing those who aren’t really paying much attention that they are “innovators” and that their shiteous copies of Apple products are “the same, but cheaper” and getting them to part with their money (in one case, that is, Windows, and only when preloaded onto cheap PC hardware, not in a retail boxed copy; certainly not Zune, nobody buys Zunes). Regardless, we’re happy to see the essence of the truth is finally going mainstream.

Wolf writes:

Introduced in 1990, Windows was a rip-off of Apple’s Macintosh operating system. Microsoft introduced the Zune MP3 player in 2005, a rip-off of the iPod Classic. However, the Zune, another instance of a failed copy attempt, has never been able to gain more than a few percentage points of market share compared to the iPod’s 70%-plus market share. Meanwhile, Apple has moved on to the iPhone and iPod touch.

Now Microsoft plans to copy the Apple Stores. In our opinion, Microsoft faces major challenges in this regard. It’s easy to copy the floor plan of an Apple Store as well as its fixtures. Leaked slides indicate Microsoft plans to do exactly this…

But Microsoft will not find it easy to hire a staff that’s as passionate about the products its sells as the staffs in the Apple Stores. Indeed, given Microsoft’s reputation, it may be nearly impossible.

To convince customers that there’s more to Microsoft than the mostly lackluster me-too products it now sells represents the major challenge of its stores. The mantra of the campaign, according to leaked documents, is ‘Engage, Educate and Excite.’ Microsoft plans to focus on the ‘user experience.’ But typical Windows users are not interested in this. If they are, they most likely have already switched to a Mac.

MacDailyNews Take: Charlie, we couldn’t have written it better ourselves. It almost feels like we did.

Wolf also writes about Windows Mobile and a bit more about the Zune:

Windows Mobile in it current incarnation is clearly the least user-friendly mobile operating system on the market. How does Microsoft put lipstick on this product? What Microsoft actually needs is a new mobile operating system that can compete with the iPhone OS, Android and BlackBerry. The same type of comments applies to the Zune. It’s a so-what product that’s now two generations behind the iPod.

In our opinion, Microsoft’s venture into retail is conceptually equivalent to an oxymoron.

MacDailyNews Note: BTW, Apparently, Microsoft isn’t changing the name of Windows Mobile to “Windows Phone,” that’s something else or some other name for the same thing or some other convoluted Microsoft naming scheme that nobody inside or outside the company understands.

Read the full article which contains a nice graph of Windows to Mac switchers from Q105 to today here.

MacDailyNews Take: “Windows Vista (codenames: PigLipstick, Win XP SP3). Tries to look like a Mac, but still runs like Windows.” – MacDailyNews Take, January 16, 2006


  1. Wow, if articles like this keep coming out in the mainstream press, maybe (MAYBE) your average person will actually start to wake up to what M$ really is…. One can dream at least….

  2. @MDN Take: <sarcasm> Yeah. I can really see Ballmer picking up this analysis and saying, “You know what. Maybe I’m wrong.” Ballmer’s a calm rational guy who listens. He’ll probably take this critique to heart.</sarcasm>

  3. The WOW! Oh Crap another Windows Core Dump. Shit it started with the first OS written by Microsoft. You would have thought that they would have improved that by now. OH! OK! you are right they have, they just keep making it easier for core dumps to happen!


  4. MacWorldUK: “tests of the final Windows 7 version (the RTM, or “release to manufacturing”) confirms a massive memory leak that occurs when the chkdsk.exe utility is run. Chkdsk.exe scans the PC’s hard drives looking for errors in the files and file structures. The memory leak — which can cause the PC to stop operating — occurs when chkdsk.exe is run on secondary disks, as opposed to the disk Windows is installed on.

    The bug was first reported this morning at several Web sites. Microsoft is due to ship Windows 7 on Oct. 22, and it finalized the Windows RTM in mid-July.

  5. Here’s a good article about the imminent failure of the Apple Stores from 2001, that someone mentioned in the comment section.


    It’s funny how nearly every major Apple product introduction since Jobs’ return has been met with incredible negativity and vitriol.

    It’s ironic that Microsoft, whose every effort is met with fawning, glowing praise in the press, has sat back and waited to copy every success that Apple has had.

  6. The only innovative thing they did was to develop a network system and software suite to blocked everyone else out. Apple truly dropped the ball in the 90’s.

    M$ have their monopoly and are still riding on it’s coat tails. Slowly the business is falling apart but we all need to understand that M$ is a big ship and it will take years before it is completely sunk.

    Jaygee – I was thinking the same thing. Dealing with one OS makes life easier for IT guys.

    I think it is time for a standard doc formats just like we have for HTML, audio etc. It will then be down to the software manufacturers to provide compatibility.

  7. Interesting comparison there in the article:

    To run their stores, Apple hires someone from Target, a discounter that aspires to good taste.

    To run their stores, Microsoft hires someone from WalMart, a discounter known for no taste.

    PS – see the comments on the article. Did it ever draw out the rabid Me2soft fanbois!

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