This is a quick free association test:
- Zen, iTunes… Zune
- Aqua… Aero
- Flash… Sparkle
The first column is made of product names, the last of Microsoft equivalent shipped after the first ones. See a trend here?
So, OK, this will be a Microsoft bashing post and I just hope it’ll be the last one. MS is an easy target (’cause it’s so big) and it’s been done over and over so, what’s the point? Venting I guess… especially when MS is using methods its so quick at denouncing
(and as quick as suing) when other people use them against them.
Poking fun at competitors mocking their product name is one thing. It makes for fun code names, allows a team to focus on a competitor. Using it as a marketing strategy is another. It’s cheap and it’s ridiculous.
Don’t tell me MS is having a sense of humour here: remember how they went after Lindows? Was that funny? Where was their sense of humour?
No, MS knows exactly how brand association works and they just abuse it, and it’s annoying. Like a bully cheating at games in the play ground, they use those ridiculous tricks to trip the competition but, like the bully, start whining when someone else does. When they run out of ideas, they just go back to an insipid “Windows whatever” or “Microsoft thingy”: Windows search (their SpotLight look alike), Microsoft Word (short for WordStar?) Heck, even “Windows” was a rippoff (off “X Windows”, the Unix windowing GUI).
Copying ideas is OK I think (at least, I think it’s OK and this is why I’m an Open Source zealot) but, brand names? All they have is recognition so copying brand names is just trying to lure customers away from the original product. It adds no value, it’s just a customer bait trick. It’s small and pityful. It’s…
O well… Don’t they have enough name recognition already? Would that change anything in their budget coming up with a creative original name? In short, am I the only one who thinks MS is really playing it cheap here? …
OK, I’m done with MS bashing. Now let’s move on to an MS anecdote.
I worked for MS for almost 5 years at the Silicon Valley Campus (yeah, I know what I’m talking about when I talk about MS… Thanks for nothing…). One day, Ballmer came to visit and, as often, he went to the cafeteria and we had a short impromptu Questions/Answers session with the boss (Note: motivation management is something MS is really good at BTW). I was standing in the crowd next to Tantek Çelik with who I was working at the time porting Mac IE to OS X. After the pep talk was over and a couple of inoccuous questions were asked, Tantek, with his formidable gusto, raised his hand and asked the following question:
“So we’re beeing told about this new OS, LongHorn, that has all these fantastic features like networked search, a relational system for files, advanced graphics capabilities, etc… Well, we’ve been told that same story 5 years ago with another OS code named Cairo and it didn’t happen. What will be different that time around?”
Ballmer, who took advantage of Tantek’s tirade to sip water out of a bottle, gulped and quipped: “We’ll ship!”
Crowd rotfl (which was easy since most were already sitting otf…).
Well, that was funny. That was 3 years ago.
In the meantime, MacIE was killed, I move to OSAF (after a short stint at Macromedia), Tantek moved to Technorati and launched the microformats thing, 2 or 3 major versions of OS X shipped, etc…
And, you know what’s really funny? Well, the really funny part is that 3 year later, it’s still funny…