I am a huge Microsoft user in the Enterprise (with a clear Microsoft by default strategy) as well as a consumer (Windows Phone, Vista – really!, Windows 7 etc.) and their products in most cases are just great. I am also an Apple Fanboy (not in the Enterprise – Apple products still don’t play nice with everyone else there) and use anything Apple at home. Their products are also – in most cases - just great.
So why does everyone seem to agree with me when I mention the latter but everyone looks at me like a deer in the headlights when I talk about my Microsoft experience? (and that doesn't even include me talking about my just wonderful experience with Vista for the last three years)
All I can imagine is that Microsoft got really bad press for most of 2001 – 2008. Since then it has shifted and Microsoft shipped one blockbuster hit after another (XBOX 360, Windows 7, Kinect, Windows Phone to mention the consumer products) – but nobody seems to notice. My experience with Windows Phone has just been superb – many features are better implemented than on my iPhone, the experience is smooth, the new hardware – especially the Nokia handsets – are on par or better than any competing hardware.
XBOX and Kinect have been the only emotional success for Microsoft and the only products where I get “Apple like” responses when I am talking about them.
On the Enterprise side Microsoft has very strong products and keeps innovating in many areas faster than real or so called competitors. I realize that “company xyz changed from Microsoft Office to Google Docs” is a nice headline – however let be assured: That never happened! Neither Google nor apple are Microsoft’s competition in the Enterprise space and still they get the better PR?!
So what can Microsoft do to get better press, win over the consumer market and maybe – but just maybe – finally move up their stock price?
Probably not much in the short run – everything depends on Windows 8, Metro and an overall Halo effect from the existing fabulous products (remember – that’s how Apple made it back). So don’t screw with Windows Phone 8 just because you want the same OS across all devices, don’t try to do a one-for-all OS for Laptops, PC’s, Tablets, Ultra books and my wall-mountable Surface but instead go back and create a product for consumers and a product for the enterprise customers (Windows 95 vs. Windows NT) and please don’t wait to update XBOX until you get surprised – again – by some gadget trick from Nintendo or a surprise showing of Sony.
Considering the track record of the last three years all of this just might happen and we all start to love Microsoft for what it really is – a company making great products!