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  • Newsletter Issue #517: Windows 7’s Worst Enemy: Microsoft!

    October 25th, 2009

    A couple of weeks back, when David Biedny joined me on The Tech Night Owl LIVE, we were laughing up a storm about Microsoft’s pathetic house parties campaign to boost the launch of Windows 7. It seemed a pathetic or desperate act to want to promote an operating system upgrade with a series of events that had, at best, only a peripheral connection with personal computers.

    Indeed, this wasn’t just a case of a couple of Mac fans ranting about Microsoft. Even the tech publications that you just know would be on Microsoft’s side were busy attacking most of the promotional efforts, and the house parties were just a small part of their objections.

    Consider most everything Microsoft has done to make Windows warm and fuzzy. There were those meaningless ads featuring Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld, for example. The latter reportedly received $10 million for his miniscule efforts and the campaign was halted when everyone realized they made no sense whatever.

    More recently, there are the TV spots in which a little girl, maybe six years of age, is trying to show you just how easy it is for her to edit and upload photos on her PC. All right, she’s cute and all, but does that make anyone want to buy a Windows PC? Really?

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    9 Responses to “Newsletter Issue #517: Windows 7’s Worst Enemy: Microsoft!”

    1. dfs says:

      All true, but something should also be said about Microsoft’s policy of putting out its OS in so many different versions, which must have the effect of putting a lot of potential purchasers in a panic mode because they aren’t sure which version is right for them. I can remember the Bad Old Days under Sculley and Amelio when Apple marketed such a profusion of Mac models that even its own sales force couldn’t keep them straight. This was something to which Steve put an end as soon as he came back, and the Mac line has been streamlined and easily understandable ever since. Partly, no doubt, he did this to untangle the manufacturing process, but this was also a manifestation of his penchant for simplicity, which is in so many ways the secret of Apple’s success. Microsoft has never managed to grasp the value of simplicity, in product design, marketing, or anything else. If it would limit itself to one OS version, or even to a single general-purpose one and a single enterprise one, preferably priced the same, this would probably do wonders for their customer relations and sales.

    2. Joe S says:

      One area that Microsoft has had significant success in is the server market. That seems to be their third market. The key to that market is that the products are sold to companies, not individuals. It seems that Apple may be taking aim at the lower portion of that market with their newly introduced Mac Mini Server.

    3. Andrew says:

      Actually Microsoft’s server products are quite good, but CAN be very expensive. At the enterprise level the costs of licensing is huge, but for a small business the Small Business Server line can be a good value.

      Apple’s OS X server gets less and less expensive as the number of users increases, provided it satisfies all of your requirements. SBS, on the other hand, has more advanced tools than OS X server (mainly in Exchange vs Mail and iCal server), but per-user licensing costs can add up quickly.

      I use Windows Small Business Server 2008 in my law office. In that role it makes a lot of sense as we have four users. If I ever expand, I have to purchase additional client licenses, which are about $400 for packs of 5, or $100 each. With OS X server, I would never have to pay for additional users.

      What I don’t have to pay for with SBS is additional machine licenses. With myself as an example, I use three computers, a MacBook Air (10.6.1) for court, a Power Mac G5 (10.5.8) at my desk and a ThinkPad T400 (Windows 7 Ultimate) for home and overnight travel. Those three machines only use 1 client license on SBS 2008, even when run at the same time as they often do.

      Windows 7, I believe, is also a very good product. Vista was not ready when it was launched, but it was patched and improved to the point of being far better than XP, and 7 only builds on and improves upon Vista. I’ve been using 7 for about two months now and I like it quite a bit.

      Snow Leopard is also outstanding, and is still better than Windows 7 in many ways.

      What really pleases me lately though is how easy it is to work on both platforms. It doesn’t matter if you use a mac or a Windows server to share files and resources, both platforms connect to one another easily, which was not always the case.

    4. Just wanted to add something I didn’t realize before: Microsoft’s transparent effort to duplicate the Apple Store with their own retail chain. Did you know they promoted offers for contests involving concert tickets, free Zune music players and other stuff to get people to show up to the debut of their Arizona store? I don’t recall Apple being forced to bribe its customers to come to its store openings. At best, they might have gotten T-shirts, which would normally not be worth the trip unless you had a reason to be there. 🙂

      Peace,
      Gene

      • DaveD says:

        @Gene Steinberg, I must agree with John Gruber of Daring Fireball about the “creepiness” of Microsoft. The store looks and sounds like an opening of an Apple Store. In addition to this is a Microsoft Store online.

        Looks to me that the 90,000 employees at Microsoft are all looking at Apple for inspiration. It is like in a classroom doing a test. One student is sitting next to a genius trying to look at his/her answers.

    5. Marcus says:

      I can see from the tone of your article that you had a nasty pxcerienee with Windows Vista. I also did in fact, I tested it for a grand total of perhaps 10 days before giving up in frustration and I’ve been in many beta / CTP programs for MSFT and other publishers and happen to have a VERY high degree of patience for beta (and RTM version bugs) So, as much as I wrote off Windows Vista (for reasons that Steve Jobs & Apple so eloquently and humorously brought forward in their I’m a PC campaign) I approached Windows 7 with my usual benefit of the doubt approach. Not to mention curiosity.I was most pleasantly surprised and impressed. All the overbearing security warnings were gone (the dastardly implementation of UAC in Vista) the mainstream hardware baseline on modern machines was finally powerful enough to truly benefit from the new UI / Aero features.Also of note, the OS even in pre-7100 beta versions was rock solid I never had a Win7 crash of any sort, and this was on a variety of machines and environments (home, corporate domain, basic office automation apps & heavier tools such as Adobe CS3 etc) While I’m certainly vendor-neutral and far from being a MSFT fanboy QNX, Solaris, Tru64 UNIX, RedHat, etc in my background, I also think that they deserve a serious look for what they’ve brought to fruition in Windows 7.Is it better value (with at least a $179+ price tag) for home users, compared with say Ubuntu or other *nix packages? Perhaps not, but end user adoption of *nix systems is, unfortunately, nowhere near where it will, should, and could be.

      • @Marcus, You are responding to an article written in 2009. More to the point, aside from a few surface improvements in Windows 7, it’s not that much different from Windows Vista. Nearly three years later, I remain unimpressed, less so with the Consumer Preview of Windows 8.

        Peace,
        Gene

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