Like or not like? Can you patent the process of becoming a fan?

Wednesday, 12 January, 2011

Microsoft is seeking to patent “one-way public relationships”, or the process of becoming a fan of someone or something, say a musician, or a product or institution, something that is especially common on social networks for instance… does this mean the act of becoming a fan is one of their innovations then?

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Microsoft to open a chain of retail stores

Tuesday, 17 February, 2009

I wonder if the Microsoft stores will have glass staircases as well?

Via The Next Web.

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Now it’s the blue screen of death for those Seinfeld ads

Friday, 19 September, 2008

Just when I was eagerly anticipating the third of the Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld TV ads, word has it Microsoft has decided to can the undoubtedly well received series. I have no choice but to buy a MacBook now…

Microsoft’s version of the story: Redmond had always planned to drop Seinfeld. The awkward reality: The ads only reminded us how out of touch with consumers Microsoft is – and that Bill Gates’s company has millions of dollars to waste on hiring a has-been funnyman to keep him company.

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Dominate the market: “impersonate” the market leader

Monday, 15 September, 2008

Does the secret of Microsoft’s domination of the web browser market lie in its use of Internet Explorer’s user agent string?

And so Microsoft made their own web browser, which they called Internet Explorer, hoping for it to be a “Netscape Killer”. And Internet Explorer supported frames, and yet was not Mozilla, and so was not given frames. And Microsoft grew impatient, and did not wish to wait for webmasters to learn of IE and begin to send it frames, and so Internet Explorer declared that it was “Mozilla compatible” and began to impersonate Netscape, and called itself Mozilla/1.22 (compatible; MSIE 2.0; Windows 95), and Internet Explorer received frames, and all of Microsoft was happy, but webmasters were confused.

Not quite a case of “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”, or is it?

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Gates and Seinfeld are “persona-building”

Monday, 15 September, 2008

I have to say my reaction to the Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld series of Microsoft TV ads has also been along the lines of “I don’t get it”, but see now the real plot and intentions…

The less than cogent ads are in fact part of an effort to re-frame the discussion about Microsoft. That actually works for me, because there’s no way those ads would, for example, convince me to migrate to Vista.

A persona isn’t established by one commercial. Critics of the Gates/Seinfeld program are missing the point. After all, “Seinfeld” the TV show didn’t become a lasting cultural force in the United States after a few episodes. Microsoft is off to a good start with this new persona-building. But here’s the real challenge: for Microsoft to have its products, processes and people authentically reflect the smart-ironic nerd concept it has successfully gotten people to talk about this week. Like “Seinfeld,” that’ll take years, too.

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The letters of Steve Jobs and Steve Ballmer compared

Wednesday, 13 August, 2008

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer comes across like a car salesman in cross-company communications, while Apple’s Steve Jobs presents a focussed, humble poise, even if he may not be a particularly humble person.

There are some similarities between Ballmer and Jobs. For one, they both sign their memos, simply, “Steve”. For another, they’re both non-engineers leading engineering companies. Engineers, in general, crave facts and detest bullshit. My sense is that by and large, engineers at Apple are often frustrated by Jobs’s (relative) lack of technical acumen, but in terms of overall leadership and company strategy, they believe what he says. Ballmer, however, has the demeanor of a successful car salesman. He’s so full of bluster that he comes across as being either delusional or full of shit.

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Is the new Facebook only optimised for Internet Explorer?

Friday, 8 August, 2008

I’m starting to wonder if the new Facebook, which looks all very dandy by the way, has been especially optimised for use with Internet Explorer.

“Optimisation” harks back to the days of Web 1.0, when websites used to bear, on their splashscreens (remember those?) notices announcing that the site was better suited, or optimised, to a certain browser, usually IE, or the old Netscape browser.

Then there were the “web masters” who used to tell you their website was optimised for certain screen resolutions, and colour depths, and that you should readjust your computer and then return to their site. But I digress.

Back to 2008 and Facebook. It really drags its heels if I’m using Firefox, Opera, or Safari. Sending messages, or writing on people’s walls, are especially problematic. Yet all works like magic when I fire it up in Internet Explorer.

This is no good because I, like many others, have developed a mistrust of IE, and would much rather use another browser.

Would this, by any chance, be a result of Microsoft’s investment in Facebook last year? Tell me it ain’t so…

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Windows Vista: compatible with your… whole life?

Wednesday, 9 July, 2008

This week’s “say what” moment is courtesy of Microsoft marketing executive, Brad Brooks, speaking about an advertising campaign intended to restore consumer confidence in the Windows Vista operating system, who is quoted as saying “software out there is made to be compatible with your whole life.”

“We’ve got a pretty noisy competitor out there,” Brooks said of Apple whose “I’m a Mac… and I’m a PC,” commercials criticize Windows Vista. “You know it. I know it. It’s caused some impact. We’re going to start countering it. They tell us it’s the iWay or the highway. We think that’s a sad message. Software out there is made to be compatible with your whole life.”

Should that have been more like “software made to be compatible with your whole life is out there… somewhere”?

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An Apple monopoly by 2018?

Friday, 20 June, 2008

What would happen if Apple’s market share were to increase dramatically? What if their dominance grew to the levels that Microsoft enjoyed in the past? Could Apple become the next Microsoft?

While Apple has a relatively low market share and there’s plenty of choice of platform, the control that Apple has over the third party application market really doesn’t matter. If a really cool application appears that Apple refuses to sanction, its developers can just up-sticks and move to S60, or Java, or (if they’re nuts) Windows Mobile and reach an equally large audience. But what happens if Apple’s market share grows to the point where it has a monopoly – 70-, 80- or even 90% market share? That might take ten years, but it’s certainly not beyond the realms of possibility, and it’s certainly something that Apple would like to have. At that point, does Apple’s control over third-party applications become an abuse of a monopoly – something that is, of course, illegal in both Europe and the US?

I begin to appreciate the adage “small is beautiful”.

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Yahoo stock plunges?

Wednesday, 7 May, 2008

Yahoo stock plunges?

US$7 billion has been added to the share value Yahoo! as a result of the failed Microsoft takeover bid.

On Jan 31, the day before Microsoft offered $31/share for Yahoo, YHOO was at $19.18/share (market cap: $26.4 billion) and MSFT was at $32.60/share (market cap: $303.6 billion). At the close of trading today, YHOO closed at $24.37/share (market cap: $33.5 billion) and MSFT was at $29.08/share (market cap: $270.8 billion). In other words, the Microsoft offer increased the value of Yahoo! Inc. by more than $7 billion and decreased the value of Microsoft Corporation by almost $33 billion.

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