The Two Faces of Microsoft
I saw a company that cared about it’s employees and only getting the best people they could to create products that would empower people to do jobs. I was starting to believe Microsoft’s slogan on their company TV ads; “Your potential. Our passion.” I mean, come on this must obviously be a company that although large and seeming not very friendly to competition (Netscape vs IE) really does want to empower people to be able to get their jobs done and do things that they haven’t been able to do before. They even offer free trials of nearly all their software products.
However over the last year every time I’ve looked at something coming out of Microsoft that excited me, I would later discover several catches that made the product a waste of my time having even found out about it. A few short examples are digital music, Internet Explorer 7.0, Longhorn, and the details thus far about the upcoming 360 (XBox Next)
What’s interesting about this, from my perspective, is that it shows how customers can perceive a duality between the acts of “Microsoft” and the acts of individual employees. It also shows how, to be truly successful some of the changes we are pushing for (in the Developer world) really need to carry themselves across more of the company than our little island. Why, for example, would you use .Net to develop extensions for Windows Media player if you perceive Windows Media Player as evil?