Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Don't let the facts get in the way of a good "Apple is great, Microsoft is junk" stereotype

Ron Miller recently wrote a post in Internet Evolution that said, among other things, the following:
  • Microsoft just launched Windows Phone 7.

  • Microsoft concluded a deal with Facebook that integrates Facebook likes into Bing search results.

  • Apple has had continuous problems with the iPhone 4, including antenna issues, supply issues, and now issues with shattering glass.

Which naturally leads to Ron Miller's conclusion - Apple is hot, and Microsoft is in disarray.

Say what?

Regardless of all of the items that Miller listed above, the only two items that were important were these:
  • Ray Ozzie is leaving Microsoft.

  • Apple had a good quarter.

Here's part of what Miller says about the two companies:

It seems no matter what Apple does, it just continues to make money hand over fist.

Microsoft, on the other hand, has the feel of a company that is drifting and in disarray. Whether it's true or not, it's a perception that persists, especially as executives jump ship at an alarming rate. What's more, Microsoft is facing a credibility problem.

After years of bad software (Vista, anyone?), buggy releases, and a past history of antitrust litigation, Microsoft is not getting the benefit of the doubt anymore. Unlike Apple, which can stumble with the iPhone and still come out smelling like a rose, each Microsoft misstep, fairly or not, seems to be magnified.

Perhaps the best way to understand it is to switch perspectives for a minute.

If a key lieutenant to Steve Jobs - say, Tim Cook - were to leave Apple, would Miller be reporting about an alarming number of Apple executives jumping ship?

If the Xbox 360 had significant hardware problems, and Steve Ballmer responded to them by saying "don't use it that way" or "the Nintendo is worse," and then proceeded to release a rubber to wrap around the Xbox, would Miller be falling all over himself in praise for Microsoft's wise solution?

Somehow I think not.

P.S. And then after all of this praise, Bloomberg released this story:

Apple Inc. fell the most in five months on the Nasdaq after forecasting shrinking gross margins and profit that missed some analysts’ estimates, indicating that the company is making less from each iPhone and iPad it sells.

Apple dropped $6, or 1.9 percent, to $312 at 12:45 p.m. New York time in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The stock slid as much as 5.7 percent earlier today, the biggest decline since May.

Of course, hour-by-hour stock trading is not necessarily an accurate barometer of success or failure, and the stock could close up by the end of the trading day. But apparently not everyone regards Apple's recent earnings as insanely great.
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