Monday, September 28, 2009

I Must Have Too Many Friends

Microsoft is a company that owes much of its success to marketing its product better than the Other Guy. Before MS Office came along, their bread-and-butter was the Windows operating system. But here's a dirty little secret, it was never 'the best' (and still isn't). By most measures, Windows has been close to 10 years behind competing products in terms of technical sophistication and quality. In fact, a lot of the concepts in the guts of modern versions of Windows can trace their roots back to an ill-fated collaboration between Microsoft and IBM so many years ago.

So why did Windows persevere while the likes of OS/2, Amiga, and BeOS bit the dust? Microsoft knew how to market to Big Business. While the Other Guys were convinced that the better product would win, Microsoft figured out that that didn't matter. Good ol' fashion schmoozing and FUD in the boardroom will always win - hands down.

For all it's success in convincing business users and hardware manufacturers that Windows was the way to go, MS has never (and I mean NEVER) figured out how to talk to real people. And there's a special place in the annals of computer geekdom for the Dancing Monkey Boy.

With Windows 7 (erasing the deeply flawed Vista debacle for only a few hundred bucks), the brain-trust out in Seattle is asking people to sign up to host 'launch parties'. Let that sink in a moment.

Launch parties.

You sign up with MS, they send you some party supplies and some instructions, and you show all your friends the wonders of Windows 7. I presume the party kit will contain a good assortment of 'Apology Cards', which will likely consume most of the day after you host your Windows party

Granted, there are people doing this for reasons only they can explain. In my IT profession, these people are called virgins. Or Futureshop sales personnel.

For myself, I cherish my friends. And I'm pretty sure none of us are virgins.


G. Harrison said...

If invited to a launch party I'll just say no.

Love the label!


David said...

I don't know. If the swag is good, I'll lie about having a party and send in pictures stolen from Flickr.

Crazylegs said...

I dunno David. I used to play that game at trade shows - suck up to as many vendors as possible and collect max swag. It felt pretty dirty after a few years. But the number of coffee mugs and glow in the dark keychains took the edge off my self-loathing.

Gord - If you get invited to a launch party, remember that you can only kill zombies through a viable head-shot.

Anonymous said...