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March 19, 2007

Scoble Says Microsoft, Uh, Underperforms at Internet Stuff

Does Microsoft really suck?  Lots of people have opinions one way or the other on that one.  Read any software or hardware forum when researching computer problems and there will always be a background noise thread debating the point. 

When the S-word is thrown about by Robert Scoble, eyes and ears perk up.  Oh? You say?  What's all this, then?  Scoble is famous for his Scobleizer blog which gives an inside view of Microsoft.  Scoble generally gives a fair picture of Microsoft, not as an evil empire but as a company successfully doing business.  He's not shy When Microsoft is worth criticizing, and on March 16th he unloaded.  He says that Microsoft should stop deluding itself about competing with Google and actually work towards something better rather than talking about it.  My interpretation, but here's the actual statement:

I don’t think Microsoft is. The words are empty. Microsoft’s Internet execution sucks (on whole). Its search sucks. Its advertising sucks (look at that last post again). If that’s “in it to win” then I don’t get it. I saw a bunch of posts similar to the one on LiveSide coming out of the MVP Summit. I didn’t post any of them to my link blog for a reason: All were air, no real demonstrations of how Microsoft is going to lead.

Microsoft isn’t going away. Don’t get me wrong. They have record profits, record sales, all that. But on the Internet? Come on. This isn’t winning. Microsoft: stop the talk. Ship a better search, a better advertising system than Google, a better hosting service than Amazon, a better cross-platform Web development ecosystem than Adobe, and get some services out there that are innovative (where’s the video RSS reader? Blog search? Something like Yahoo’s Pipes? A real blog service? A way to look up people?) That’s how you win.

This was motivated in part by Steve Ballmer's trash talking about Google (a lot of their products are cute, Ballmer says, meaning their interesting but useless) and Microsoft's executives claiming they were in the search fight to win.  The statements ring hollow with news reports that Microsoft is trying to grow market share by bribing corporations to use Live Search. 

Microsoft may have bundles of cash to thrown around but this latest move is kind of pathetic considering that the market place has essentially ignored this Microsoft product.  Buying a technology company to get products that add functionality to the Microsoft line is one thing.  But buying users?  Scoble is right in that Microsoft hasn't come up with a compelling product.  As unfocused as Yahoo may be, they can compete with Google.  If Google is a one-trick company as analysts claim, at least they do that trick very, very well.  Microsoft should learn the lesson of very, very well if it wants to conquer the web.  A sharp Google or Yahoo is way better than a bland Microsoft.

March 19, 2007 | Permalink

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