Microsoft: An Interesting Case Studyby Paul Sullivan on September 25, 2001 12:35 AM EST
- Posted in
- IT Computing
Irony In Action
Microsoft is an interesting case study. They are by all accounts a huge financial success and their stock has brought riches to many across the country and the globe. However, when you look beyond the dollars, you see a much more convoluted and confusing image. On one hand, Microsoft has made some of the best software and hardware many of us has ever used. Excel, for example, has always been very highly regarded, and on the hardware side, their Microsoft Mouse product line has set the standard for quality and innovation.
On the other hand, Microsoft is one of the most hated companies on the face of the planet. They are constantly attacked in newspapers, magazines and online publications for being an arrogant, greedy bully who is only interested in maximizing profit for shareholders at the expense of the consumers who made them in the first place. The are reviled by their competitors in the tech marketplace. They have been ganged up on by the governors and attorney generals of many states across this country, and they have become so powerful that they have incurred the wrath of their very own democratic government.
How is it that one company can be both loved and hated at the same time with such passion and fervor? How is it that one of the greatest business success stories in the history of the United States has been so viciously challenged and attacked by their own country and customers? In this editorial we will take some time and speculate on the possible answers to those questions. We will take a look at some of the things that Microsoft has and hasn't done to deserve this bi-polar reputation.
Left Brain (LOGIC and ORDER), Right Brain (RANDOM, ART AND CHAOS)
On one side you have the software developers, undeniably some of the very best in the business. Yet on the other you have the corporation that is mystifyingly inept at public relations but masterful at bringing in truckloads of cash. How do these disparate visions coexist? Frankly, I have no idea. But I do know that not all things Microsoft are bad, nor are they necessarily good. My support and praise does not go to the corporation, but to the developers who actually work on the products that we can use and enjoy. Some are fairly frivolous but most are pretty darn good. But the same cannot be said for the tone and decisions of the master Microsoft corporate engine. To pay homage to this confusing personality split, I'll spend some time talking about some of the good products that Microsoft has contributed, and then some of the pathetic decisions the company has made. Hopefully by the end there will be some element of balance.