An interesting discussion on Twitter last night got me thinking. It started with a tweet by Shel Israel (co-author of with Robert Scoble) asking if anyone actually had a good word to say about Vista.
Now, I must be one of the lucky ones. As on Twitter I've never really had any problems caused by Vista itself. I've always liked it from the early betas (even the Longhorn alphas but it was a different animal back then) and think it's a shame that Microsoft have had to cave in over things like removing the search from SP1 etc. Yes, I experienced issues during the beta with the installation of SP1 but that's _why_ it's a beta right? The only other major issue was due to Lexmark not sorting out their printer drivers (which I still get lots of hits on even now!)
Shel went on to say that Vista has done more for Apple than anything else but I disagree. Vista itself is a good product but with a bad rep and poor (or almost non-existent marketing), . In my experience consumers hear a couple of horror stories and everything becomes a bit like chinese whispers. The tales of woe are recounted by ever increasing circles of people without any of them actually installing Vista (). How is a product supposed to compete with the likes of that when no-one is actually standing up to say that it's actually pretty good.
The problem is, however, not just the fact that Microsoft just but that we have the likes of Apple putting the PR train in to overdrive. Yes Apple make nice products and they capture the imagination but I think we can all agree that their advertising sails very close to the wind.
Take the MAC vs PC ads for example.
Apple have made an art out of bad mouthing the competition that would make a politician during an election campaign cringe. Microsoft may have been described as arrogant in the past but the torch has been well and truly passed on. people seem to respond to the smug arrogance employed by Apple in their ads - this may make them entertaining but they are definitely not entirely accurate. In fact, they are blatant exaggerations. Is this ?
Turn things around for a moment. Would people cry foul and demand for heads to roll if it was Microsoft bad mouthing Apple? Most likely. It seems to be one rule for one and one for another. Whatever happens, Microsoft really need to make a point of upping their game when it comes to marketing. They may still be in a monopoly position but they need to be talking to the man on the street, the consumer and not just those organisations that will be signing the big deals.
What's your take? Do you think this is all fair game or should the playing field be levelled when it comes to advertisements?