Barney's Rubble

Microsoft on the Brain

We've got opinions, and we're not afraid to use 'em.

Lately I've gotten a small handful of letters -- OK, just two -- complaining I'm too mean to Microsoft. I take all letters seriously. So I thought about it, and the conclusion I reached is the exact same as the one I had the day we launched Redmond magazine nearly five years ago. Here's what I wrote in August 2004:

"Think of a magazine for the used-car buyer. It would warn about dealers painting over washed-up yellow cabs and turning back odometers, and show irritated customers how to bring back that lemon. It sure wouldn't praise used-car dealers for their innovation and savvy in ripping customers off! There's a natural tension between buyer and seller. Redmond represents the customer, and the customer is always right.

"We'll tackle issues that readers and customers face, and boldly take your side. Buggy software, poor support, scheming sales, predatory pricing, bloated software, vendor squabbling, needless incompatibility and IT office politics will all get a critical look.

"Good IT books are always in trouble, and we expect plenty of flak. That just shows we're doing a good job. We're big boys. We can take it. But in every case we will be fair. It's easy to take cheap shots, but like Mike Tyson, you just look foolish and mean."

I've long argued that powerful people and companies demand scrutiny and criticism for their missteps. Microsoft, President Obama, Donald Trump -- criticism comes with their territories.

More importantly, my opinions are formed by your opinions. If you have a problem with Windows Vista or Internet Explorer, I have the same problem. If you think SQL Server and SharePoint are great, so do I.

So what do I think of Microsoft?

  • "Vista: Boo
  • Windows 7: Yay
  • IE7: Boo
  • IE8: Possible Yay
  • Copy Protection: Boo
  • Xbox: Yay
  • Software Assurance: Boo
  • Visual Studio: Yay
  • Office 2007: Boo

I'm not just a passive recipient of your opinions. Three times a week I write the Redmond Report e-Newsletter, and on average I get 10 responses per newsletter. That's 30 of you telling me what you think every week. Multiply that by 52, and that's some serious correspondence.

Unlike Donald Trump, I take criticism seriously, and will think twice every time I slam a person, place, product or company to make sure the criticism is measured and deserved. But when Redmond readers slam a person, place, product or company, I'm a more-than-willing conduit.

What do you love or hate about Microsoft? Your e-mail is always welcome at dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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