Microsoft’s Bad Press

by James R. Stoup Nov 04, 2005

Imagine a crowded bar on a hazy Saturday night. The mood inside is restless and tense. Suddenly the conversations die as the door opens to admit a mean looking customer. He was the baddest man in these parts for many a year but as of late he has gotten a little slower as old age begins to work its magic. He saunters in, looks the place over and spots the new kid in town. The one everybody’s talking about. The one who has begun to step onto his turf. The one he hates with a passion.  “Look here kid” he bellows “this town ain’t big enough for the two of us and so somebody has to go.” Then, quick as a snake he whips open his coat and draws a wicked looking pistol. He spins it around, flips it in the air, catches it again and promptly shoots himself in the foot. That was the scene recently as Microsoft tried to demo its new “Live” software.  We haven’t talked about Microsoft much lately because they haven’t really done anything news worthy in a long time. And if they hadn’t made such a fool of themselves with this latest event I probably wouldn’t have even given them a second thought. But this was just too good to pass up.  Oh, and for those of you who didn’t get the full story on their failed demo check out this story on OSViews.  While we are talking about the brooding giant in Redmond why don’t we take a look at how they have been faring these past few months. What with the tech world talking about iPods, video downloads and Sony slipping you some spyware with your new CD good old MS has been left out in the cold. So, here is what they have done that has made the news lately. And keep in mind, that whoever said “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” obviously never met the management at MS.  Failed demo ~ Taking ineptitude to the next level Ok, you are giving a demonstration of your company’s new net-centric business software when, that’s right, everything crap outs and goes dark. What moron was responsible for that? And how do get people like that working on such an important project? I think this is even worse than the blue screen of deathThe South Korea “Incident” ~ MS threatens to make S. Korea virus free So South Korea complains that MS is needlessly bundling software with Windows and asks them if they would please stop. Doesn’t this sound familiar? (European Union perhaps?) Not to be outdone MS quickly declares that maybe they don’t need to sell any more crap to S.K. anyway. Then comes the name calling, the “yo momma” jokes and eventually an appearance on court TV before everything is solved. Of course this brings up the question of how many countries will threaten legal action against MS before they stop acting illegally?  Xbox due out before PS3 ~ See, it’s not all bad news Sony’s PS3 will come out after the Xbox 360, and as a bonus, it will completely miss this year’s Christmas rush. That is the good news. In fact, that is really the only good news out of Redmond lately.  IE patent appeal lost ~ Time to get out the check book to the tune of $500 million This isn’t really news anymore because it happens so frequently but to sum this story up MS lost an appeal and now it looks like they will have to pay out half a billion dollars to some company whose code they stole for IE. Who knows, maybe they will throw in a T-Shirt and induct them into the “I sued MS for stealing my crap” club? Membership growing daily.  Patch creation process flawed leaving system still vulnerable ~ Earth still round, water still wet The more things change the more they stay the same. Quick quiz, your company produces a shoddy piece of software in which a major security flaw is found. Do you a) quickly fix just the vulnerability that people know about and then hope it goes away or b) spend some time to eliminate the flaw permanently? Since this topic is on my list you can assume that they picked “a”.  Windows Media Center upgraded ~ User interface goes from “raped in city jail” to “tortured in Vietnamese POW camp” Head over to Cool Tech Zone and you can read their review of the new version of the Windows Media Center. It should be noted that when a tech centric site reviews your software and says “It’s so confusing; it would render even the computing enthusiast frustrated.” it might be time to step back and reevaluate your software creation processes.  In USA Internet Explorer is down to 80% market share ~ Get Ballmer another chair ‘cause it’s time to panic Safari and FireFox are on the rise, IE is on the fall. This is great news to everyone except MS. Doesn’t it make you all warm inside to know that they world is a safer place when people don’t us MS’ software?  So, that’s the recap of the latest Microsoft news. Yes, I know it’s bleak but if they could just stop making such fools of themselves things would improve. We don’t expect a presentation from Gates to be anywhere in the same league as Jobs but making sure the janitor didn’t accidentally turn off the internet doesn’t seem like too much to ask does it?


  • Microsoft has grown into being that company you love to hate over the past several years, whether you’re a Mac user or not.  In my travels, selling/training Windows-based PC’s to a lot of folks and especially the elderly, there is an undercurrent of belief that all of the bad press is true.  Let’s face it, if Microsoft made as many bad mistakes as everyone claims then they simply wouldn’t exist, no matter how much wealth they’ve accumulated over the past two and a half decades.

    I also believe that Mac users tend to amplify this for their own ends (ends I’ve yet to understand - call me a pacifist) and make failure mountains out of failure molehills.  The rest of the tech industry, of course, pretty much follows suit but in a bit less impassioned manner - they, after all, are not making the bucks or impact that Microsoft is and the most vocal voices on this industry seem to love the underdog - or at least hate the reigning king. 

    Your other options, going to your closest urban newspaper for opinions and news, are more likely Google-lovers right now and pretty much guilty of the same thing.  Google is set to take over the world and everyone else just stumbles in comparison, or at least that’s what I would believe.  Even in Seattle, 15 minutes from Redmond, WA, anti-Microsoft sentiment is growing and really, for no good reason.

    Fact:  I haven’t used a Windows PC myself in several months now and have no plans to ever again if I can help it.  BUT, I have multiple (EXPENSIVE) software applications by Microsoft installed on each of my 4 Mac’s and absolutely love them.  If Microsoft Office for Mac isn’t “doing something right”, then I don’t know what is.  It’s an excellent package.  I love Virtual PC and I applaud MS for putting it out.  I could give a crap about the sales figures of Xbox 360, I want one now just because it I want to play a video game - it’s been awhile.  It’s not hard for anyone to find something GOOD to say about Microsoft, it’s just that no one wants to.

    I still say this: dump Steve Balmer and you’ll see Microsoft’s image in general improve dramatically.  That guy’s an idiot and yes, Media Center is WAY too hard to use for the average couch potato.

    dickrichards2000 had this to say on Nov 08, 2005 Posts: 112
  • “If Microsoft Office for Mac isn’t “doing something right”, then I don’t know what is.  It’s an excellent package.”

    I have to say I disagree. I find office for mac is not without its faults. Start time is poor in comparison to windows office and I find many aspects of the UI rather clumsy. This does come down to personal opinion, and it is certainly tolerable. But I also think it could definitely be improved upon.

    Nice article by the way James!

    Benji had this to say on Nov 11, 2005 Posts: 927
  • But in the interest of fairness if you can find me a tech-news site that isn’t pro-windows and find me some links that point to good news for MS I would be more than happy to read them and amend my article.

    Ah, the caveat.  Simple enough simply to declare ANY site I post as “pro-Windows.”

    But since OSViews is really more of an opinion site (can you not tell the difference?), I went to an actual news source,  And here’s what came up under Microsoft:

    Office 12 moves closer to beta
    Microsoft tells testers to expect the first version in the next few weeks.

    November 11, 2005 11:06 AM PST
    This week in Microsoft

    November 11, 2005 10:41 AM PST
    Week in review: Microsoft’s memos
    Bill Gates and Ray Ozzie urge Redmond’s leadership ranks to confront the realities and missed opportunities of online competition.

    November 11, 2005 10:00 AM PST
    Microsoft urges Flash bug patching
    Days after Macromedia warns of a security bug, Microsoft posts an advisory to install the fixes.

    November 11, 2005 9:35 AM PST
    Microsoft, Daum reach settlement
    Software maker settles antitrust suit with $10 million cash payment and other deals and concessions worth $20 million.

    November 11, 2005 4:30 AM PST
    Microsoft’s ad pitch underpins Net moves
    The company is betting on its AdCenter tool to help it realize its grand ambition to deliver free software over the Internet.

    November 11, 2005 4:00 AM PST
    New Windows Trojan causes confusion
    Trend Micro initially reported that it spotted a Trojan horse that exploits the latest Windows flaw, but now it’s not so sure.

    November 10, 2005 11:30 PM PST
    Gates’ services memo draws response CEO Marc Benioff tells employees Microsoft is a “dinosaur” and his company is poised to “demonstrate the next level.”

    November 10, 2005 3:34 PM PST
    Secondhand Microsoft software goes on sale
    U.K. company starts trading in secondhand licenses, surprising some resellers. Could it be a new business model?

    November 10, 2005 12:44 PM PST
    Yahoo backs off bidding for AOL stake
    Terms of the proposed deal were not to Yahoo’s liking. AOL continues talks with Microsoft, Google.

    November 10, 2005 4:52 AM PST
    OpenDocument format gathers steam
    Growing cadre of vendors vows to improve alternatives to Microsoft Office, as government customers voice more interest.

    November 10, 2005 4:00 AM PST
    Firefox marks its first year on the Net
    In one year, the browser has grabbed 8.65 percent of the market and put a dent in Internet Explorer’s dominance.

    November 9, 2005 5:00 PM PST
    Tech firms assail proposed broadband rules
    Google, Microsoft and others agree on at least one thing: a more light-handed, tech-neutral approach to regulating the Net.

    November 9, 2005 2:49 PM PST
    Gates alerts Microsoft to big changes
    roundup Gates memo to Microsoft executives confronts the realities of online competition.

    November 9, 2005 12:28 PM PST
    Gates memo: Brace for ‘services wave’
    Microsoft chairman tells staff “to lead, we need to do far more,” as company faces up to online rivals.

    November 9, 2005 12:12 PM PST
    Ozzie memo: ‘Internet services disruption’
    Microsoft chief technical officer sees more work ahead in catching up with rivals offering free, ad-supported products.

    November 9, 2005 11:34 AM PST
    French taxman opts for OpenOffice
    Tax agency plans to put the open-source rival to Microsoft Office on thousands of its PCs.

    November 9, 2005 11:29 AM PST
    Chizen: Friends, foes and China
    newsmaker The big, burgeoning Asian nation is much on the mind of Adobe CEO Bruce Chizen. Then there’s the little matters of Apple and Microsoft.

    November 9, 2005 10:13 AM PST
    CBS, AP to send video clips online
    CBS links up with AOL, while Microsoft does a deal with the Associated Press to bring video news clips online.

    I’ve hightlighted the articles I consider out and out negative, like the French picking Open Office over MS Office.

    But it’s a bizarrely different picture from the one you paint about all of this supposedly negative Microsoft press.

    So I went to CNN to see what they have to say.  Again, an entirely different picture:

    Microsoft betting on big Xbox 360 sales (11.09.2005)
    Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday said it expects to sell as many as 3 million Xbox 360s in the first three months after its launch—a strong start in its battle to dominate the market for next-generation gaming consoles.

    Gates warns of Net’s ‘sea change’ (11.09.2005)
    The technology industry shift’s to Internet-based software and services represents a massive and disruptive “sea change,” Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates wrote to top-level executives in a memo aimed at rallying his troops against the new competitive threats the company faces.

    Microsoft aims for 3m Xbox sales (11.09.2005)
    Microsoft Corp. expects to sell up to 3 million of its new Xbox videogame consoles within 90 days of the console’s launch, an executive said Tuesday.

    Microsoft ‘leads chase’ for AOL (11.07.2005)
    Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, has emerged as the lead suitor for a stake in Time Warner’s Internet unit America Online (AOL), according to a report by The New York Times.

    Browser choice benefits Web users (11.04.2005)
    When it comes to browsers, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer has a stronghold on the market, but other products are starting to make inroads, giving Web users a choice about what software they use to surf the Net.

    Microsoft in Web software shift (11.02.2005)
    Microsoft, the world’s largest software maker, said it will make a strategic shift by offering software with online services, a move analysts said was prompted by competition from Google and other rivals.

    Microsoft upgrades Windows online (11.01.2005)
    Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday announced online enhancements to its Windows operating system and other popular software programs, hoping to defuse a growing threat from Google Inc. and other fast-moving challengers.

    So outside of your warped reality-distortion-field, it’s not so much doom and gloom as it is business as usual.  Some good, some bad, mostly neutral.

    I am sorry if you find the truth to be whiny.

    I know you Mac drones are loathe to admit that you are drones, but do you honestly believe that the crap you’re shoveling here is “truth”?

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Nov 11, 2005 Posts: 2220
  • The only “droning” seems to be coming from you.

    Wow, nice comeback.  Macs really do make you more creative.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Nov 12, 2005 Posts: 2220
  • Poor little, MG.  Steve Jobs hasn’t told you what to think about this, so obviously you’re confused.

    The point isn’t about any single headline.  The point is that JRS, as per his MO, has cherry-picked bits and pieces of info (from an opinion site, no less) to come to the same conclusion he always does: Microsoft sucks at everything.

    But when you look at the headlines from a real news source, you get a different picture.  Some good news, some bad news, but mostly neutral news.  In other words, the news about MS isn’t really that different from any other huge global corporation.

    I know that doesn’t sit well with you and other programmable Apple-bots, but that is the “truth.”

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Nov 12, 2005 Posts: 2220
  • Aw, c’mon guys! Stop this silly tit for tat tussle about BG’s unselfish donations.

    I just hope he minimizes his income tax obligations in the process. Which means you and I have to pay more, right?

    JR had this to say on Nov 29, 2005 Posts: 1
  • Hey Beeblebrox,

    I agree with you…How stupid can the author get?  I mean how can you not search for newsitems reported upto a week after you posted your article?  Journalistic incompetence at its best…

    addicted4444 had this to say on Dec 02, 2005 Posts: 1
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