or, a Microsoft Fan-Bay tries to bash the competition.
Over at ITworld.com, Don Reisinger decides to attack Apple and Google and say that they will one day be hated, simply for their success. He tries to compare the two to Microsoft, saying that “there was once a day when Bill Gates and Microsoft were loved by millions across the globe,” but later became “vilified” due to “sweetheart deals with PC manufacturers,” and by becoming “the world’s most powerful tech company.” He then says that Apple and Google are headed down the same road because Apple follows the “questionable practice of locking down its software and services on its own device,” and Google’s “success and questionable privacy practices” will lead to it’s downfall.
Re-writing the past
I like how Don completely side-steps Microsoft’s monopolistic, and illegal, business actions. He tries to make it seem like it was their success that was their downfall, not illegal bundling deals and other anti-competitive trade practices. While he does mention that Bill Gates was seen as evasive in the deposition for the anti-trust case, in which Microsoft was found guilty, he fails to mention that Gates has always been seen that way, at least by people who were not fan-boys.
Simply put, Microsoft used questionable and illegal actions to not only achieve it’s success, to but extend that success into other markets. Many people were growing weary of Microsoft’s actions long before the trial began. There were those that remember Microsoft’s promises that, just like DR-DOS, the next MS-DOS would have multitasking and be network aware, only to have MS-DOS 4.0 arrive, driving many back to MS-DOS 3.3. Then there was the special setup program written just for OEM versions of Windows 3.x, which would fail if anything but MS-DOS was being used, even though the software itself would work with other DOS programs. Those happened long before the browser wars began, and Microsoft offered to divide up the server and desktop markets with Netscape, then brag to Intel that they were going to cut off Netscape’s air supply (and I don’t mean the band).
Predicting the future
I will say right now, that Apple and Google can both end up being hated. However, I do not believe that they will be hated for their success alone. If that were so, then we would all be hating every company and person that was successful. The reality is that companies that do things to screw over their customers, get hated by those customers, and companies that don’t, end up not being hated.
I don’t see Sony or Microsoft being attacked because their control the software and services on their games systems. I don’t see people complaining that they can’t load a different OS and software on their Blackberry or other “smart phone.” If Apple had not provided an SDK to developers to write apps for the iPhone and iPod touch, then people would have been upset, especially as other makers get iPhone-alikes out on the market. The difference is that Apple is not saying that no one can write programs for their devices, just that those programs have to be verified to improve security for users. Now, if Apple tried to create an SDK and code signing for OS X on the desktop, then people would complain. Because people want more options on their computers, but not as much on their phones. There is a perception that the desktop is only as useful as the software you can run on it, while a phone is a phone first, and mini-computer second, if at all.
For Google, their greatest threat is how they handle on-line ads. If they go with pop-up and pop-under ads, then yes, people will start to disdain them. The problem isn’t the ads themselves, just how they show up and/or interfere with using the web. We don’t mind that we have ads on television (at least not that much), since the ads don’t interfere with the shows themselves. Throw in some scrolling ads or anything else that distracts from the show, and people get upset. If Google goes out and starts skewing search results to return ads, then people would be concerned. Google does show ads based on search words, but those ads in a clearly marked area in the results page, and you don’t have to worry that your search results themselves has been filtered or skewed to favor ad sites.
Does success really breed jealousy and disdain?
Don wrote that “popularity and success breeds jealousy and disdain.” Well, it does breed jealousy and disdain in competitors, but not necessarily with customers. Earlier in the article, Don mentioned that ” Microsoft’s plight is not unique,” but does not go to show other examples. His only example is what he thinks will happen to Apple and Google. If such hatred was linked to success, then we should be able to just look around and see the long list of companies that have become great successes and then hated simply because of that success, and not because of bone-headed moves by that company.
Don wants success to lead to hatred, because he wants Apple and Google to be hated, because of what they have done to his beloved Microsoft.
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