By macleans.ca - Friday, July 15, 2011 - 0 Comments
Chart of the week
In the fight for smartphone supremacy, Google’s Android operating system continues to widen its lead over Apple and BlackBerry
By Randy Kim - Tuesday, June 28, 2011 at 2:37 PM - 0 Comments
Software company takes aim at online products from rival Google
Microsoft Corp. revealed an online version of its two-decade old Office software suite on Tuesday, The Globe and Mail reports. The move is the world’s largest software company’s biggest step into cloud computing, or the delivery of software over the web. Microsoft aims to take a stand against Google, which has stolen a small percentage of its corporate customers with cheaper, web-only software alternatives. Customers will be able to use Office applications such as Outlook, Excel and SharePoint on mobile devices and wherever a web connection is available.
By macleans.ca - Friday, May 13, 2011 at 11:10 AM - 0 Comments
The RCMP officers involved in Robert Dziekanski’s death face perjury charges, while scientists prove Einstein was right
Some justice at last
It’s been over three years since Robert Dziekanski died at the Vancouver airport after RCMP used Tasers to subdue him. Now B.C.’s attorney general has laid perjury charges against the four officers involved for allegedly giving misleading testimony during the exhaustive Braidwood inquiry. While some, including Dziekanski’s mother, Zofia Cisowski, are disappointed the charges don’t relate to the tasering itself, Cisowski still applauded the move. The wheels of the law may be slow, but they do keep moving, and in this sad case the charges offer at least some measure of justice.
Harnessing hot air
Energy sources such as wind and solar could provide 80 per cent of the world’s power supply within four decades if governments provide the cash and policies to make it happen. That is the landmark conclusion of a UN panel that says it’s not too late to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a “safe” level. In the meantime, farmers are enjoying the heat. According to separate research, Canadian crops have been largely spared from the scourge of climate change—and our historically hard-luck farmers are profiting from increased demand.
When the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded this year’s Peace Prize to imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, it was a blow to China’s human rights record. But the big winner may be Scottish fish farmers. In a fit of pique, China has stopped buying salmon from Norway—its biggest supplier—and signed a deal with Scotland. Perhaps that contributed to the unprecedented majority won by Alex Salmond’s Scottish National Party in the May 5 elections. Good news for nationalist politicians, not so much for fish.
It’s all relative
A NASA study has confirmed two of the “most profound predictions” about Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity: that space and time are both warped and pulled by Earth’s gravity. Astrophysicists say the results, based on data measured by an orbiting space probe, will have implications “beyond our planet.” In other physics news: engineers have developed a golf ball that won’t slice. Now there’s a breakthrough we can relate to.
In the post-Mubarak era, Egypt is transitioning, but to what? Christians and Muslims clashed in Cairo, leaving 12 dead and two churches in smoldering ruins, amid signs Islamist hard-liners are asserting their power. At the same time, Syria continued its crackdown against anti-government protesters, killing scores of people and injuring hundreds, while in Libya, forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi hammered rebels. Clearly the fight is far from over for the pro-democracy movement across the Middle East.
Tens of thousands more baby boomers will face retirement without a company pension plan, Statistics Canada reported this week. Since the recession, membership in private sector plans has fallen below that of the public sector for the first time ever. Which is why Canadians should be cheering the Canada Pension Plan’s tripling of its 2009 investment in Internet-calling-company Skype, recently purchased by Microsoft for US$8.5 billion. Unless you work for the civil service or at a university, the CPP may be all the help you will get.
Lord Triesman, the chair of England’s failed bid for the 2018 World Cup of soccer, is alleging at least four FIFA members demanded bribes for their votes, including a knighthood for Paraguay’s representative. Trinidad’s football head wanted $2.5 million cash for an “educational centre.” London’s Sunday Times reports two West African delegates were paid $1.5 million to support Qatar’s winning bid. And in France, the national team is embroiled in scandal after it emerged officials considered quotas to limit the number of African and Arab-born players on their development squads. The ugly side to the beautiful game.
A good marriage isn’t necessarily built on love or even physical attraction, suggests new research in the Journal of Politics. Among the strongest shared traits between U.S. spouses is their political attitudes, the study found. The political bond forms early in marriages, but it’s not always enough to keep them together. Just ask political power-couple Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, who separated this week.
By Jason Kirby - Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM - 0 Comments
On searching for aliens, buying pro sports teams, and his two brushes with death
Paul Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates, but left after he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 1982 and the two men had a falling out. Since then, Allen has used his fortune, estimated at US$13 billion, to buy sports teams, a submarine, build rocket ships and fund brain research, among other pursuits. In his new book Idea Man, which he wrote after a second cancer scare, Allen delves into his partnership with Gates and how it sparked the personal computer revolution. But he also reveals that working with Gates could be like “being in hell.”
Q: It’s been two years since you were diagnosed with cancer for the second time in your life, this time non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. How is your health today?
A: It’s good. I still have a few small after-effects, but I get tested every few months to make sure I’m still in remission. But I’m doing wonderfully better than when I was really sick when I first started on the book.
By Chris Sorensen - Friday, February 18, 2011 at 12:52 PM - 2 Comments
What RIM can learn from the ‘unbelievable’ fall of Nokia from the top of the smartphone market
For many in the industry, cellphone giant Nokia Oyj’s recent announcement that it will use Microsoft’s Windows Phone operating system on its high-end devices was viewed as a sign of desperation. Despite being the world’s biggest cellphone maker, Nokia has been steadily losing ground in the smartphone wars to Apple’s iPhone and devices that run Google’s Android operating system, while Microsoft, the world’s biggest software maker, has been unable to gain any real traction with its mobile OS. And it’s far from clear that combining forces will do much to staunch the bleeding. “Two turkeys don’t make an eagle,” tweeted Google VP of engineering Vic Gundotra about the announcement.
It’s a stark reminder of how quickly fortunes can change in the tech business—and it should act as a cautionary tale for Canada’s Research In Motion Ltd., which makes the popular BlackBerry. RIM’s global market share has also been slipping (to 16 per cent from nearly 20 per cent last year) as consumers pass over the company’s clunky touchscreen efforts—Storm and Torch—for the latest iPhone or Android-powered device. Ken Dulaney, an analyst at Gartner Research, argues that both RIM and Nokia stumbled as they tried to adapt their existing keyboard-oriented operating systems to touchscreen hardware, instead of building new software from scratch.
By Erica Alini - Friday, February 11, 2011 at 1:14 PM - 0 Comments
Google accuses its search engine archival of copying its result listings
When Microsoft launched Bing in 2009, geeks across the Internet joked that the name must stand for “Because It’s Not Google.” But that very connotation came under question last week when Google accused its search engine archival of copying its result listings.
The claim came after the California-based Web behemoth ran a test that, it says, demonstrates that some of Bing’s search results came directly from Google. The company temporarily altered some of its algorithms so that, for example, a search for “mbzrxpgjys,” which would normally produce zero or a few irrelevant results, turned up a link to the website of Research in Motion. After a while, Google said, an identical search on Bing started producing the same result.
Microsoft did not deny the claim, but said that Google’s results are one of the more than 1,000 signals it uses to compile its own search listings. While Microsoft’s conduct is not illegal, according to Danny Sullivan, editor of the tech blog Search Engine Land, it means Bing increasingly looks like Google, depriving Internet users of the benefits of being able to choose among search engines, each with their own unique “search engine voice.”
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, December 2, 2010 at 10:00 AM - 0 Comments
Microsoft’s new optical gaming system is all a part of its strategy to take over the living room
Microsoft has sometimes been called a one-trick pony, albeit a very successful one. Its Windows operating system is used on 90 per cent of the world’s computers. But nothing lasts forever, which is why the Redmond, Wash.-based company has been desperately trying to come up with a repeat hit.
Yet despite rolling out an avalanche of new products over the years—Zune media players, Windows Mobile and its Bing search engine, among others—only Microsoft’s Xbox video game console has been an unqualified success. And now, just in time for the holiday shopping season, Microsoft has upped the ante with an optical motion control system called Kinect that leapfrogs the motion sensing controllers of rivals Nintendo and Sony. That’s because it doesn’t require a controller at all. Instead, it’s an optical sensor that is placed atop your TV set to follow your physical movements. Microsoft says it sold one million of the devices in the first 10 days and is on track to sell five million by year’s end.
While Kinect is certain to give the Xbox a sales boost, Microsoft has its eyes on a much bigger prize: the entire living room. Both Microsoft and Sony in particular are keen to make their consoles all-in-one entertainment systems, playing movies and offering content from the Web, including streaming video. Dennis Durkin, the chief operating and ﬁnancial ofﬁcer of Microsoft’s Interactive Entertainment Business, recently said that 40 per cent of Xbox Live members in the U.S. use their consoles for activities other than gaming, including streaming movies on Netflix, listening to music or following friends on Facebook.
Kinect promises to help further this trend by shedding the Xbox’s image as a platform solely for hard-core gamers, while also solving the problem of comfortably using your television set to access the Web. Suddenly, the need for a cumbersome keyboard or remote controls festooned with buttons—needed for Google TV and other rival products—is a thing of the past.
By macleans.ca - Friday, September 3, 2010 at 8:00 AM - 0 Comments
Björk versus Canada, Microsoft’s founder sues just about everyone, and Brian Orser exacts sweet revenge
He plays for Queen and country
Taking a page from Vladimir Putin’s playbook, a buff British PM David Cameron went body boarding during holidays in Cornwall. He’d urged Britons to aid tourism by vacationing at home. While en vacances, his wife, Samantha, delivered their fourth child, Florence, another economic boost.
By macleans.ca - Friday, July 23, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
The Clintons are pleased to announce almost nothing, Arcade Fire’s class act, and Rowan Atkinson’s cunning plan
If they had a million dollars
Montreal rockers Arcade Fire will match donations up to $1 million to Kanpe, a charity rebuilding family life after the Haitian earthquake. “We’re all family in times like this,” said Régine Chassagne, whose parents were born in Haiti. “Please,” her husband Win Butler urged fans, “take our money.”
For better and worse, check
In 1984, Steve Fonyo ran across Canada, raising $13 million for cancer research, an epic achievement for a 19-year-old with a prosthetic leg. His life since, always in the shadow of the late Terry Fox who attempted a similar feat in 1981, has been a train wreck. He was stripped of the Order of Canada last year after a long battle with addictions and multiple criminal convictions. He’d hoped a planned Aug. 28 wedding would signal a turnaround, but that, too, went off the rails when it was revealed last week that his fiancée, Lisa Greenwood, is serving a jail sentence for theft and assault. Victoria-area business people, who had planned to underwrite the ceremony at the city’s Fonyo Beach, where he’d ended his run, rescinded their offer. John Vickers, executive director of the Victoria Truth Centre, who helped arrange the event, said the couple’s “lives are too complicated at this time for a supported wedding to occur.”
By Kate Lunau - Thursday, July 1, 2010 at 2:20 PM - 0 Comments
PowerPoint-loathing finds a creative new outlet onstage
One evening last week, about 120 people gathered at the Drake Hotel in Toronto and expectantly took their seats. Smiling broadly, dressed in a collared shirt and pleated pants, Matt Ginsberg, 28, got on stage. “Hello everyone. I’ve been asked to come here tonight to speak to you on a very important topic,” he said, to warm applause. Ginsberg then turned to face the PowerPoint presentation queued up behind him and sighed deeply, considering the talk he was about to give. Giggles erupted from the crowd. He read from the first slide: “Should you keep bees in your pants? An honest debate.”
By Jason Kirby - Thursday, April 1, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 10 Comments
To counter the Wii system, Sony launched a rival called Move
It’s rarely a good sign when analysts and bloggers attach the suffix “-like” to your competitor’s product to describe your latest, cutting-edge innovation. But for Sony, which has finally unveiled a motion-sensor controller for its PlayStation 3 video game console—four years and 65 million units after Nintendo’s Wii first hit store shelves—“Wii-like” will have to do.
At a gaming event in San Francisco, Sony officially debuted the Move. Like the Wii, users hold the Sony controller in their hands and as they move, the game responds to their actions. But what sets Move apart is the PlayStation Eye camera, which tracks a glowing ball atop the controller and lets games better track your 3-D movements in space. The controller is due out later this year and will sell for around $100. Early reviews of the Move controller have been mixed. Some bloggers dismissed it as too little, too late, while others found it more refined than the Wii.
Still, for all the time Sony has had to come up with its response, many analysts seemed underwhelmed. Of course, the small matter of the Great Recession might explain why Sony has held off releasing its own motion controller until now—sales of video game consoles and games have been badly battered by the economic downturn.
But Sony has a good reason to get a move on Move. Later this year, Microsoft will begin selling its own much anticipated motion control system, known as Project Natal. It involves no controllers whatsoever. Instead it relies on advanced infrared and motion-sensor technology so that players’ whole bodies become the controller. Microsoft even tapped director Steven Spielberg to unveil the device, prompting much speculation about hybrid movie-video games that star players in their own feature films.
Both the Move and Natal are still several months from launch, but already Wedbush Morgan Securities analyst Michael Pachter has predicted Microsoft will outsell Sony five to one. Ultimately, Move may end up going nowhere.
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, March 18, 2010 at 11:00 AM - 7 Comments
Microsoft CEO Ballmer has good reason to cheer the new Windows
Steve Ballmer, the über-enthusiastic CEO of Microsoft—who once jumped around on stage and screamed himself hoarse at an employee event—was in Toronto last October to energize a hotel ballroom full of IT managers about the company’s new Windows 7 operating system, a replacement for its much-maligned Vista OS. As had become customary at such appearances, Ballmer took a self-deprecating swipe at Vista—“there was a lot of noise in the system, let’s call it that, after our last launch”—and boasted that audience members need not worry about the company’s latest creation.
Turns out it wasn’t just cheerleading. Thanks to positive reviews and pent-up demand (many of the world’s computers had still been running versions of Windows XP, first introduced in 2001), Microsoft recently said it sold some 90 million copies of Windows 7 since it went on sale last October. In the first month alone, Windows 7 sales were nearly double any of the company’s previous OS launches. And while rival computer-maker Apple has been enjoying record sales for its Mac machines lately, market data suggests that Windows 7 is helping Microsoft once again add to its already dominant 92 per cent market share. The OS that comes bundled with Mac products, meanwhile, has lost share three of the last four months, according to research firm Net Applications, and is down about five per cent from its October 2009 high.
Windows 7 “is selling well and has been generally well received,” says Michael Cherry, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft. “I think it was important for them to get Windows 7 right and I think, for the most part, they have.” He adds, however, that it’s difficult to tell how many Windows 7 customers are people who are buying PCs for the first time and how many are upgrading. Still, with the Vista debacle fading in the rearview mirror, Ballmer once again has something to scream about.
By Colby Cosh - Monday, February 15, 2010 at 10:48 AM - 25 Comments
I suppose a lot of you have seen the astonishing video of the Intellectual Ventures Mosquito Death Ray. It’s a can’t-believe-your-eyes proof-of-concept so irresistible that the time to it being monetized as a mass-market product that sits on your porch must surely be a matter of months. Remember how quickly Apple went from being a computer manufacturer to being a music company that happened to have a sideline in computers? You think the same thing could happen with Microsoft and pest control?
Devised for malaria eradication in Africa, the Mosquito Death Ray seems like promising ground for the One Laptop Per Child business model (which has failed, so far, to get very many laptops to very many children); use Western punters to cross-subsidize humanitarian uses for a cool technology.
But I’m a morbid pessimist. What I think of when I see a Mosquito Death Ray built with cheap parts from eBay isn’t malaria: I think “Gee, seems like guidance systems for ground-to-air rockets would be well within the financial range and design abilities of a clever hobbyist now.” Then I think, “Hey, haven’t we seen rather a lot of news stories over the past few years about pilots being mysteriously scanned with green laser pointers?” Then I just kind of curl up into a fetal position.
(But let’s not let that stop us from enjoying more fun from Intellectual Ventures: reverse-engineering the secrets of Avatar.)
By Chris Sorensen - Thursday, November 5, 2009 at 12:20 PM - 1 Comment
Will hand-held tablet PCs revolutionize mobile computing?
When Ken Dulaney and three other tech visionaries set out to build a tablet computer nearly a quarter century ago, the idea seemed like a no-brainer. Tablets were, after all, a key piece of equipment in the 1960s television series Star Trek, which would ultimately have a decent track record of predicting future technologies such as wireless communication, biometric identification and non-invasive medical procedures, if not interstellar space travel. More importantly, tablets promised to literally put the power of a personal computer in people’s hands.
But the GridPad, a clunky 4.5-lb. machine with a green-hued electroluminescent screen and stylus, failed to take off, save for in a few niche sectors in government and health care. Several other efforts suffered the same fate. “We had a number of customers who did their work while standing or walking,” says Dulaney, who worked alongside Palm founder Jeff Hawkins on the project. Continue…
By Colin Campbell - Thursday, October 22, 2009 at 1:00 PM - 8 Comments
After years of flops, the software giant is making a comeback
For the past 18 months, the future of the world’s largest and most powerful computer company has been lugged around in the backpack of a 14-year-old schoolboy in Seattle, Wash. His laptop is loaded with a new piece of software, and he’s been told to use it and abuse it and then give his impressions to one very important person-—his dad, the CEO of Microsoft Corp., Steve Ballmer. Ballmer says his son has been his toughest critic—someone who has been helping find bugs in the company’s new operating system and pointing out the kinds of flaws and errors that made the previous version of the software, Vista, such a monumental failure. A lot is riding on his small shoulders.
The new operating system, called Windows 7, is the one thing that could finally shake the company from a nightmare of embarrassing flops and image problems under Ballmer’s tenure. Vista was not only sluggish and bug-filled, it drove many users to distraction and into the arms of rival computer companies, like Apple. And that was not the company’s only problem. Its MP3 player—the brickish-looking Zune—was a poor copy of the iPod, and its XBox 360 gaming system was plagued with technical problems in its early days-—troubles that cost the company an estimated US$1 billion in warranty repairs. And as consumers began a critical shift to mobile computing, Microsoft missed the boat completely on smart phones, handing the market to Apple and Research In Motion. Having fallen well off technology’s cutting edge, this year the Redmond, Wash.-based company suffered its first drop in revenue since going public in 1986. It also announced it will lay off 5,000 workers, another company first. Continue…
By Jason Kirby - Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 4:00 PM - 4 Comments
Microsoft exec Don Mattrick may change how the world plays
In 1982, at the age of 17, Don Mattrick created his first video game. What he couldn’t know then was that he was helping lay the foundation of Vancouver’s game industry, and taking a first step toward last week’s appearance on a stage in L.A., shoulder to shoulder with director Steven Spielberg. Mattrick, head of Microsoft’s video game division since 2007, was a featured speaker at the Electronic Entertainment Expo. And what he unveiled promises to revolutionize the way people play video games.
Code-named Project Natal, it uses sophisticated cameras and microphones to translate one’s body movements into action on the screen. No buttons to push. No wireless controller to swing around. If you can walk, jump, swing your arms and talk, you’re ready to play. But if Mattrick’s background is rooted in shoot-’em-ups and racing games, his real ambition is far grander. He’s using the company’s Xbox gaming system to lead Microsoft in a battle for control of your living room.
By Lianne George - Thursday, June 4, 2009 at 8:40 AM - 15 Comments
A Danish tech firm harnesses the power of the autistic brain
For the first two years of his life, Lars Sonne appeared to develop normally, a happy boy, much like his older brothers. But at the age of two, roughly 10 years ago, Lars started to retreat into himself. “At kindergarten, he wouldn’t play with others,” says his father Thorkil Sonne, a Danish software executive, speaking from his office in Copenhagen. “He would only be on his own, sit on a swing for hours.” For several months, psychologists observed the boy closely, and ultimately delivered a devastating diagnosis. “We were told that our son has a lifelong disability called childhood autism,” says Sonne. “It was scary to realize how many doors would be closed to him.”
As time progressed, Sonne noted something remarkable about Lars. He had few friends—he was far too easy to bully—but he had intense, deeply cerebral interests, like astronomy, railroad systems and math. “When he starts focusing on something, he is so clever,” he says. “He can learn so much; it’s quite extraordinary.” Once, when Lars was seven, Sonne found him creating an elaborate doodle, made up of dozens of stacked boxes, numbers and acronyms. Only later, when Sonne happened to crack open an atlas on his bookshelf, did he realize that what his son had drawn was a replica, from memory, of an intricate road map of western Europe, reproduced without a single error.
By Kate Lunau - Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 3:35 PM - 3 Comments
Google heads Page and Brin aren’t evil, but they’re crafty
Google has kicked off a new battle with Microsoft, and it’s borrowing a weapon from the computer giant’s own war chest. Users of Gmail, Google’s popular email service, are being told that older versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are “unsupported,” and if they want to use all of Gmail’s features—and double its speed—they should switch to Chrome, which happens to be Google’s new browser.
Internet Explorer 6 users are reporting that when they sign into Google’s online email application, a “Get faster Gmail” message pops up in the menu bar. Clicking on it takes them to a page that promotes Chrome (which launched in September), and Firefox (which Chrome recently replaced in the Google Pack application bundle), saying the two browsers are “twice as fast” at running Gmail.
By Kate Lunau - Monday, December 1, 2008 at 9:00 AM - 4 Comments
Will people still pay when Microsoft’s product is free?
Finally, some good news for frustrated Windows users. After years of being forced to buy pricey anti-virus software to keep their PCs running (and being mocked for it by Mac users), relief is in sight: Microsoft has announced that it will begin offering its own anti-virus software, for free.
Code-named “Morro,” Microsoft’s new product promises to guard against malware (short for malicious software) including viruses, spyware, rootkits and trojans. Reportedly named for Brazil’s Morro de São Paulo beach, the software was originally designed for consumers in emerging markets who couldn’t afford to pay for anti-virus software. But Morro will be made available to Windows users all over the world in the second half of next year, when Microsoft will simultaneously kill off Windows Live OneCare, a security subscription service launched just over a year ago that costs about $50 per year.
The move is being welcomed by PC users tired of shelling out for third-party protection. Besides the frustration of the extra cost, “third-party software really drags down the speed of your computer,” says Ian Gormely, a Toronto blogger who says he’s used all the major anti-virus programs on his PC.
But while it’s a boon to consumers, Morro could be devastating to companies that have built empires selling software to protect PCs from viruses. McAfee and Symantec (creator of Norton AntiVirus), leaders in the field, both saw their stock slide by more than seven per cent when Morro was announced, continuing a long swoon that has seen the stock of both companies drop by more than 30 per cent over the past three months.
Microsoft claims that Morro isn’t a direct rival to products from McAfee or Symantec because it’s a basic service focusing on malware, and because it doesn’t offer extras such as encryption, data loss prevention and parental controls. Amit Kaminer, a Toronto-based analyst for SeaBoard Group, says that as long as the two companies can successfully identify features in addition to malware protection that customers are willing to pay for, both should be able to survive.
By Colin Campbell - Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 12:00 AM - 0 Comments
Strangely, the latest batch of Microsoft ads is all about Apple
“I’m a PC,” begins the latest advertisement from Microsoft, “and I’ve been made into a stereotype.” The line is a riff off the long-running “I’m a Mac” Apple ads. (It’s even delivered by a Microsoft employee dressed up to look like the brown-blazered PC character in those ads.) It’s followed by a host of people, from self-help guru Deepak Chopra to musician Pharrell Williams, proudly declaring “I’m a PC.”
The new strategy, “is all about Apple,” says Rob Helm, director of research at Directions on Microsoft. The company wants to blunt Apple’s cutesy attack ads and is perhaps more worried about its smaller competitor than it previously let on. But this new strategy is also one Microsoft took a long and rather bizarre path to arrive at. The spot is the third different campaign the company has offered up in just two months—part of a $300-million marketing effort that at times has resembled more three-ring circus than coherent plan.
First came the Mojave experiment, in which it filmed focus groups in “gotcha” moments enjoying its troubled Vista operating system—as if to say, “Ha! You like Vista, you just don’t know it!” That was followed by the already infamous Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Gates ads. They were amusing (one had the duo living with a suburban family to try and “connect” with real people), but in true Seinfeld form, were about nothing. All along the company suggested the ads were merely teasers but, given how hastily they were dropped, that seemed like a convenient excuse.
The anti-Apple ads suggest there may have been a method to the madness after all. “They did indicate that the Seinfeld ads were more about creating noise than delivering a message,” says Helm, “and now we’ve seen what the message is.” The Bill and Jerry ads ended with Seinfeld asking Gates about the company’s future: “Give me a sign,” he says. Well, if there is one, this is it. Microsoft finally has something to say.
By Colin Campbell - Thursday, July 31, 2008 at 10:12 AM - 0 Comments
In an effort to prove to the world that its Vista operating system doesn’t…
In an effort to prove to the world that its Vista operating system doesn’t suck, Microsoft has a new marketing campaign called the Mojave Experiment.
It goes like this: A focus group is filmed talking about their negative views of Vista. They are then asked to try a new system, called Mojave. They love it. Then they’re informed that Mojave is actually just Vista. Gotcha!
The ad ends with the kicker: “Now decide for yourself.” Ok then… We’ve decided it’s a horribly misguided gimmick in which Microsoft seems to be shifting blame for its bad PR problems over to their customers. The message: you’re stupid for not liking Vista and for trusting the reviews.
Really, the only thing to take away from this campaign is that the Vista name is mud and Microsoft needs to change it, fast. When you start attacking and insulting your own customers, it’s a sign of desperation.
By Duncan Hood - Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 4:22 PM - 76 Comments
Poor Microsoft. Once the the king of computerland, now fading fast as we rush…
Poor Microsoft. Once the the king of computerland, now fading fast as we rush to embrace our new love, Google.
Earlier this week Harris Interactive released its annual list of the top 10 best and worst corporate reputations in the States. Last year, Microsoft was number one, the most loved corporation in America. This year, Microsoft has fallen to 10, while Google tops the heap.
What caused Microsoft’s fall? Could it be because of Vista, its new beast of an operating system, known primarily for resource hogging and driver issues? Or all that anti-trust stuff in Europe? Perhaps it’s because they still haven’t built a decent anti-virus program into their operating system.
Whatever it is, at least they can take some cold comfort in one thing: despite those “I’m a Mac and I’m a PC” ads—they still beat Apple.
By Colin Campbell - Friday, June 13, 2008 at 12:42 PM - 0 Comments
Poor, poor Microsoft. The same week that Apple brings the world the iPhone 2,…
Poor, poor Microsoft. The same week that Apple brings the world the iPhone 2, Microsoft watches Google strike up a deal with the company it was once courting, Yahoo. And then it goes and unleashes this ridiculous piece of technology on the world, the Microsoft Surface tablet table. It’s the worst invention since the Zune. You have to see the video of the tablet table in action in Las Vegas to fully appreciate its awfulness. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll want to scratch your eyes out.