In reply to…

No Sunday post today. Instead, a reply to a post by Nathaniel Salzman concerning the new Microsoft ads and Microsoft in general. I would follow that link first before reading on.

Interesting. I haven’t seen the new ad yet, but at least it says Microsoft more than the quirky Seinfeld ads.

A terrible product and user experience: Their products are the Achilles heal Apple is shooting arrows through left and right

Sure it’s bad, but if you’ve been using Windows only since Win98/WinNT4 it’s really not. It’s what you know. When I switched to Apple, I was going crazy trying to figure out the things I did on Windows with a few keystrokes and still have a hard time with the crazy symbols.

Convoluted systems: The user must constantly adapt and relearn, rather than having a system built and adapted to them and what they’re trying to do.

I’ve been using Windows since 3.11 and I don’t remember constantly relearning or adapting to anything. If anything, the way applications act on Windows is way more consistent than on the Mac in some respects. And Windows has, essentially, worked exactly the same since Win95. Vista I’m sure is different, but not too much from what I have seen.

I will say the primary reason for my switching is I got tired of fiddling. I’m a fan of “It Just Works”.

Corporate inertia: When was the last time Microsoft did something truly new?

There is the Surface thing, which is promising. Too bad nobody is really pushing it or coming up with a cool use for it.

I’m in no way a Microsoft/Windows fan boy, but I have been using it for almost 20 years (and DOS before that). I haven’t used Vista yet, but I can say that Windows XP for 99% of it’s users is a great OS, very stable and (as long as they are running IE7), fairly secure.

One thing everyone seems to forget is that while Microsoft was booming with Windows 95/98, Apple had System 7/OS9. While I have heard System 7 was ok, I know from a little experience (and what I have heard) that OS9 was horrible. Microsoft had ME, but as long as your hardware supported it, it was as good as 98. Apple didn’t start getting praise until they released OS X on a wide scale. Before that, they were relegated to hobbyists, print shops and (I wish this would come back) education.

Windows has been around for a while. Crappy ads or not. People will continue to use it as long as that’s what they have in the office. Offices will continue to use it as long as they have software developers that can’t/won’t ditch DOS, IE6 or INI/batch files. And, as long as one can go to Best Buy/Walmart/[enter local electronics store here] and pick up a Windows PC for less than $500, it’s going to be here to stay.

To be honest, I almost didn’t switch. The community surrounding the Apple and it’s products (including the iPod) are a little to enthusiastic for my liking. But I was able to get past that and see the quality of the product, which then justified the price.

I prefer the Mac by a longshot and try to get others to switch every chance I get. You just can’t discount Microsoft because they don’t know how to sell themselves or do anything revolutionary.

Published by Don

Lead bottle washer at, host at and tech guru for the MotoringFile family of sites.

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  1. And Windows has, essentially, worked exactly the same since Win95.

    That’s cuz the code’s essentially the same since Win95

    Microsoft does have their fair share of innovations and triumphs, I will concede them that. But I would also say that right now they’re seriously behind, and it’s hurting them more than they’d care to admit. The big thing we’ve yet to see is whether Ballmer will be able to steer the ship without little Billy Gates at the helm or not.

  2. If you can get your hands on it, you should read that Fast Company article. It’s so full of worshipful accounts of Alex Bogusky by internal CP+B people it’s kind of sickening. I saw the second ad in the series tonight. Again, well executed, but all it shows me is how the hottest ad agency in the world completely missed the whole point of the Apple campaign in their rebuttal.

    Counting you, that’s two people I know who would actually spend :30 to defend Microsoft for…well, anything. I do give Microsoft credit for having a very different problem to solve from Apple. They’ve got to build an OS to function on nearly infinite combinations of hardware. Apple doesn’t have this problem. However, that’s of their own choosing.

    Thoughtful stuff, db.

  3. >Thoughtful stuff, db.

    You too. I was going to leave this as a comment on your site but it just got to long. Like I said, I’m not MS fanboy, just like to make sure the record is kept straight. Besides, if Microsoft wasn’t around to make sub-standard products on poor hardware, how would Apple get any business?

    I’ll look for that article. Not a fan of “worshipful accounts” but it sounds like it might be a great read.

  4. what MS has, in my locality (South Africa), is a huge base of developers, writing bespoke business applications, across all business sectors, for a hungry business consumer base.

    were it not for the fact that there are excellent third party apps available, many businesses, including my own would not be running the MS OS.

    I run parallels on my Macbook solely because I have one crucial proprietary application. That runs in XP, not Vista, because XP is faster and less fiddly.

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