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Microsoft: Stop the Apple Envy

I've know Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley since the late 1980s. Yeah, I'm no spring chicken, but so what?

Mary Jo has done almost nothing but follow Microsoft for her whole career and she can pull insightful perspective out of her hat in a blink of an eye. She barely has to think about it.

She recently wrote a column I totally agree with that asserts Microsoft should stop chasing Apple's tail. I know the iPad, iPhone and iPod are all cool. And the Mac is sweet, despite a market share that would get any self-respecting Microsoft head fired. Less than 10 percent don't cut it in Redmond, baby.

The old song and dance is that Apple is innovative and creative, where Microsoft plods along, making chunky software and buying its way into new markets.

Do mature companies like IBM, Oracle or HP get the same heat? No. Is Microsoft that different? I think Microsoft is a bit of both the innovator and the mature entity. We see innovations with Lync, Xbox and now Windows 8 Metro. And there is the mature side. Do we really need Redmond reinventing Windows Server or SQL Server every two years? That would drive IT bonkers.

Foley points to areas where Microsoft copied Apple's methods in ways that make no real sense. It kept the lid on Windows 8 until its big reveal at last month's Microsoft Build conference. Was it Microsoft's attempt to shock the world the way Jobs has done in many Macworld keynotes?

And Microsoft cut a semi-exclusive smartphone deal with Nokia -- just like Apple did with AT&T (one reason I never bought an iPhone).

Posted by Doug Barney on 10/12/2011 at 1:18 PM


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