Microsoft’s Bad Press

by James R. Stoup Nov 04, 2005

Imagine a crowded bar on a hazy Saturday night. The mood inside is restless and tense. Suddenly the conversations die as the door opens to admit a mean looking customer. He was the baddest man in these parts for many a year but as of late he has gotten a little slower as old age begins to work its magic. He saunters in, looks the place over and spots the new kid in town. The one everybody’s talking about. The one who has begun to step onto his turf. The one he hates with a passion.  “Look here kid” he bellows “this town ain’t big enough for the two of us and so somebody has to go.” Then, quick as a snake he whips open his coat and draws a wicked looking pistol. He spins it around, flips it in the air, catches it again and promptly shoots himself in the foot. That was the scene recently as Microsoft tried to demo its new “Live” software.  We haven’t talked about Microsoft much lately because they haven’t really done anything news worthy in a long time. And if they hadn’t made such a fool of themselves with this latest event I probably wouldn’t have even given them a second thought. But this was just too good to pass up.  Oh, and for those of you who didn’t get the full story on their failed demo check out this story on OSViews.  While we are talking about the brooding giant in Redmond why don’t we take a look at how they have been faring these past few months. What with the tech world talking about iPods, video downloads and Sony slipping you some spyware with your new CD good old MS has been left out in the cold. So, here is what they have done that has made the news lately. And keep in mind, that whoever said “There’s no such thing as bad publicity” obviously never met the management at MS.  Failed demo ~ Taking ineptitude to the next level Ok, you are giving a demonstration of your company’s new net-centric business software when, that’s right, everything crap outs and goes dark. What moron was responsible for that? And how do get people like that working on such an important project? I think this is even worse than the blue screen of deathThe South Korea “Incident” ~ MS threatens to make S. Korea virus free So South Korea complains that MS is needlessly bundling software with Windows and asks them if they would please stop. Doesn’t this sound familiar? (European Union perhaps?) Not to be outdone MS quickly declares that maybe they don’t need to sell any more crap to S.K. anyway. Then comes the name calling, the “yo momma” jokes and eventually an appearance on court TV before everything is solved. Of course this brings up the question of how many countries will threaten legal action against MS before they stop acting illegally?  Xbox due out before PS3 ~ See, it’s not all bad news Sony’s PS3 will come out after the Xbox 360, and as a bonus, it will completely miss this year’s Christmas rush. That is the good news. In fact, that is really the only good news out of Redmond lately.  IE patent appeal lost ~ Time to get out the check book to the tune of $500 million This isn’t really news anymore because it happens so frequently but to sum this story up MS lost an appeal and now it looks like they will have to pay out half a billion dollars to some company whose code they stole for IE. Who knows, maybe they will throw in a T-Shirt and induct them into the “I sued MS for stealing my crap” club? Membership growing daily.  Patch creation process flawed leaving system still vulnerable ~ Earth still round, water still wet The more things change the more they stay the same. Quick quiz, your company produces a shoddy piece of software in which a major security flaw is found. Do you a) quickly fix just the vulnerability that people know about and then hope it goes away or b) spend some time to eliminate the flaw permanently? Since this topic is on my list you can assume that they picked “a”.  Windows Media Center upgraded ~ User interface goes from “raped in city jail” to “tortured in Vietnamese POW camp” Head over to Cool Tech Zone and you can read their review of the new version of the Windows Media Center. It should be noted that when a tech centric site reviews your software and says “It’s so confusing; it would render even the computing enthusiast frustrated.” it might be time to step back and reevaluate your software creation processes.  In USA Internet Explorer is down to 80% market share ~ Get Ballmer another chair ‘cause it’s time to panic Safari and FireFox are on the rise, IE is on the fall. This is great news to everyone except MS. Doesn’t it make you all warm inside to know that they world is a safer place when people don’t us MS’ software?  So, that’s the recap of the latest Microsoft news. Yes, I know it’s bleak but if they could just stop making such fools of themselves things would improve. We don’t expect a presentation from Gates to be anywhere in the same league as Jobs but making sure the janitor didn’t accidentally turn off the internet doesn’t seem like too much to ask does it?


  • If only one could get all the computer in-adepts out there to acknowledge the existance and viability of non-M$ formats, the company would just *implode*. They do *nothing* exceptional that would justify their existance.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Nov 04, 2005 Posts: 371
  • MS is stuck with a huge albatross around its neck called “backward compatibility” and this is actually their greatest problem.  They were saved from businesses going to the Mac in ‘84 because of the mass of commercial apps (and DOS apps developed in-house by companies) that business had invested in.  Backward compatibility kept MS rich, but it also created a can of worms that they are stuck with.  Does anyone really believe that MS will start fresh, like Apple did with OS X?  Not a chance, leaving them with nothing to do but make the can of worms larger.  In that environment nothing noted above is a surprise.

    MacKen had this to say on Nov 04, 2005 Posts: 88
  • Yeah, without a radical paradigm shift, MS is stuck. Which is sad! As much as I dislike Microsoft and flat out abhor Windows, I don’t want to see them flounder or, some day, fail. I want to see them strive and I want to see that cause other companies to innovate and try harder.

    But, yeah… MS does nothing exceptional, as Bad Beaver says. They redo everything that everyone else does and slap the word Windows into the name, and then they create useless, proprietary formats so that the 90%+ Windows using population is stuck with windows.

    Actually, that’s really smart…

    Waa had this to say on Nov 04, 2005 Posts: 110
  • You forgot to add these:
    Gates Foundation Commits $258.3 Million for Malaria Research and Development
    Gates Foundation donates $7.4 million to LA schools
    A $100 million HIV/AIDS initiative in Botswana, funded by the Gates Foundation and Merck & Co

    I live in an Apple household, but the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation doles out a whole hell of alot of money and it should be noted.

    consumerq had this to say on Nov 04, 2005 Posts: 1
  • consumerq,

    I am thrilled that Mr. Gates and his wife donate money to worthy causes.  I also like butter pecan ice cream.  However, neither of those two points really have anything to do with the point of my article.  I am talking about Microsoft the corporation, not the Gates foundation.

    James R. Stoup had this to say on Nov 04, 2005 Posts: 122
  • Sometimes I think all the news that Microsoft is on the out might actually earn them underdog status and have people rooting for them.

    Let us not forget they still have over 94% of the desktop sown up, make more revenue in a week than Apple does in a quarter, have a captive audience for all their future product releases even if the computer cognoscenti don’t endorse them, still have double digit revenue growth from software with obscenely high gross margins, and have enough money in the bank to last decades even if by some miracle Google’s ventures cause them to flatline.

    Bill G might be sobbing that his demos went phut, but he’s still laughing all the way to the bank.

    mikataur had this to say on Nov 04, 2005 Posts: 19
  • Where are the stats that says IE is 80% ? Checking my website (nothing to do with Apple, Firefox, or IE - it’s a unbiased music site) - IE is under 60%! Opera’s actually taken a massive leap forward in my stats, noting that giving the browser for free has made a big change! At least in my stats =)

    Also, it’s wrong to say MS do nothing exceptional. What about Office 2004 for Mac? I also must admit I love my Xbox.

    Luke Mildenhall-Ward had this to say on Nov 05, 2005 Posts: 299
  • Ah. Sorry, not under 60% - but under 70%. It’s roughly that for too.

    Meh, sorry, just a very small thing in relation to this article, really. But I am curious where you got the 80% figure.

    Luke Mildenhall-Ward had this to say on Nov 05, 2005 Posts: 299
  • However, neither of those two points really have anything to do with the point of my article.

    That’s right, consumerq, the point of the article was brainless and whiny Microsoft bashing.  How dare you try and interject anything positive about Bill Gates.

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Nov 05, 2005 Posts: 2220
  • Beeb, what is it? Of course James’ article merely states the obvious, but how can stating the obvious be whiny? MS is doing as always, just as Waa said, and by and large it stops working out. The company is overgrown and overstuffed with money, and they act like it. The South Korea incident is a prime example. Ok, other companies may use small countries as testing ranges for the efficiency of their products *cough* which is *just* *slightly* *worse*, but this kind of schoolyard-bully behaviour is just what will break MS neck. They are on the shorter end of the lever. They just fail to notice that as it seems.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Nov 05, 2005 Posts: 371
  • And nobody was bashing Bill or what he does with his money. I applaud what he does. It is just not the topic.

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Nov 05, 2005 Posts: 371
  • Of course James’ article merely states the obvious, but how can stating the obvious be whiny?

    Gimme a break, Beav.  He is no more stating the obvious than Michael Moore “states the obvious” about how Republicans are evil incarnate or how Rush Limbaugh “states the obvious” that Democrats are evil incarnate.

    There is stating facts or reasoned opinion, and then there’s vomiting out ridiculously biased diatribes like a programmable Apple-bot.

    James’s “point” is what it always is: “what bad things can I say about Microsoft today?”

    Every big company, particularly one as big as Microsoft, has bad press.  They also have good press, and anyone who has been following Vista knows that it’s not all bad news for Microsoft by any means. 

    That would be “stating the obvious.”  But then, stating the obvious isn’t really the point, is it?

    Beeblebrox had this to say on Nov 05, 2005 Posts: 2220
  • So what good things can you say about Microsoft today? smile

    Bad Beaver had this to say on Nov 07, 2005 Posts: 371
  • Luke Mildenhall-Ward,

    Here is the link, the stats come from

    James R. Stoup had this to say on Nov 07, 2005 Posts: 122
  • Beeb,

    I think I see the root of your problem with my article. You seem to think that I scoured the web looking for “bad” articles about MS and just ignored all of the “good” ones. So, to put your mind at ease I will explain where I got the material for this piece.

    If you head over to and click on the Win/MS Views tab you can see all of the Microsoft related news that they have collected for the past week or so. Now look at the articles from Oct. 31st - Nov. 3rd as those were the dates I looked at when writing this article. To help you out I listed their titles below and highlighted the ones that I used as source material. As you can see most of them are negative with a few neutral ones thrown in here and there.

    Please notice that I didn’t go to MacDailyNews, or MaCNN or some other Apple-centric site because I knew they would be biased against MS. Instead I went to a site that reviews ALL types of Operating Systems and looked to see what news they collected. And guess what? It is mainly negative! So, when I write a summary of their negative news it too will be negative. I am sorry if you find the truth to be whiny. But in the interest of fairness if you can find me a tech-news site that isn’t pro-windows and find me some links that point to good news for MS I would be more than happy to read them and amend my article.

    Xbox 360 shortage faked to spur demand?
    The Blind Leading the Blind in Massachusetts
    Services plan shows Microsoft playing catch-up
    Microsoft’s “Live” debut and dead air
    Microsoft patches may break Web sites
    Microsoft to buy Internet calling software company
    Is Windows Vista Out of Sync?
    S.Korea says regrets Microsoft’s pullout threat
    Xbox 360 will not use HD DVD, says Microsoft Japan official
    Microsoft ‘Live Era’ Meets Dead Air
    Deja Vu All Over Again at Microsoft
    Supreme Court won’t review Microsoft patent appeal
    Google’s Suit Against MS Put on Hold
    Another Black Eye for Microsoft Patch Creation Process

    James R. Stoup had this to say on Nov 07, 2005 Posts: 122
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