I’m about to do a Five Year Report Card comparing Microsoft to Apple.
If the only item on the report card was stock price, Apple would win, hands down. Unless innovation is considered. Then, Apple would win again, hands down.
This isn’t a rant, though I play one on TV. Hmmm. Sorry. It’s a rant. A well deserved rant, but a rant nonetheless.
Why? Microsoft has decided that Widgets are cool so they’re creating their own. Of course, the name ‘Widgets’ is already taken by Apple (and Konfabulator, now owned by Yahoo!).
Microsoft will call their ‘widgets’ Gadgets. They’re still Widgets (though a part of me doesn’t fully understand why Apple didn’t name their widgets Gadgets).
Lets not get into the whole Dashboard Widgets vs. Konfabulator Widgets discussion. Why? First, ‘little accessories’ on the Mac date back long before Konfabulator.
Can you say, ‘Desk Accessories?’ Macs were not even in color back then, but the concept is exactly the same. Let’s not argue about Konfabulator vs. Dashboard.
Instead, let’s focus on Microsoft’s latest research and development efforts which, more and more, seem to involve scouring Apple’s web site for ideas, changing a name or two, and calling it ‘innovation.’
Since the whole ‘innovation’ argument could take a day or two, let me get back on track and rant more on Microsoft.
Patents. There’s just a lot of noise about patents and trademarks these days. Some hate patents. Some, mostly big business, love patents (unless you’re a big business who must pay royalties on a patent owned by someone else).
Personally, I don’t know and don’t worry much about it, though I had to laugh when Microsoft obtained a patent for an interface eerily similar to the iPod’s navigation system.
That patent was filed AFTER the iPod was launched, which makes it look as if Microsoft saw something cool and decided to patent it, vs. developing something cool on their own.
Maybe I’m on to something when I say that Microsoft’s research and development arm is actually located at Apple’s headquarters in 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, CA. ‘Why?’ you ask?
Microsoft was just awarded another patent. This time it was on the ‘double-click’ of the mouse. No, Microsoft didn’t invent the mouse, though they sell plenty. No, Microsoft didn’t invent the double-click.
The first poor shluck who clicked twice, too quickly, on the first mouse ‘invented’ the double click. Not Microsoft. But Microsoft decided it was worthwhile and applied for and was granted a patent on the ‘double click’ function of your typical mouse.
Yep. That’s innovation, Redmond style.
What’s Apple’s Steve Jobs say about all this? ‘Redmond, Start Your Photocopiers’ was his poke at Gates’ lame efforts to innovate. What’s Bill Gates have to say? Well, he owned up to the fact that Microsoft is grappling with a lot of smart competitors.
Apple. Google. Adobe. LAMP. Linux.
Gates admitted to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that Google’s way ahead in search. Apple is way ahead in music. He also said Word Perfect was once way ahead in word processing and Lotus 1-2-3 was way ahead in spreadsheets and Netscape was way ahead in browsers and Sony was way ahead in game consoles.
He also said Microsoft will catch up and surpass the leaders.
I don’t think so. Why? Because Microsoft won in word processors, spreadsheets (Office), and Windows because they cheated, lied, and abused the market. Vendors had to sell Windows. Vendors had to sell office.
On even turf, Microsoft has problems which is why, five years after Gates handed over the CEO-ship to Steve Ballmer and took the role as chief architect and Chairman, the latest Windows is years late and innovation, except for stealing ideas from other companies, has all but stopped.
This is part one. The ‘Report Card’ will be part two.