Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I Hate the New Microsoft "Evolved" Advertising Campaign!

Here is the annoying Microsoft Office "evolving" billboard I see every day. Note the immense scale of this stupid thing - it is about 5 stories tall!

I realize that making fun of Microsoft isn't always the most unique of topics but I am really irate over the new advertisements that I see everywhere... the ones where they put dinosaur heads on people in office settings and say that if you don't upgrade to the latest version of Microsoft Office you haven't "evolved".

I have been working with Microsoft products for about 15 years. I remember when Windows 95 and Office 95 came out with a bang and it featured integration of all the Office products (Excel, Word, Powerpoint and Access) with the operating system. There was some serious innovation with Office 95 in terms of being able to use the same "menu bar" at the top of the page for all of the programs and using common items like spelling libraries rather than loading these for every application. Office 97 had some additional key features and then Office 2000 cleaned up some loose ends but, that is about it.

It is 2005 now and I am using Office 2000 at home, quite happily. At work they recently upgraded me to Office 2003 but I really don't notice much difference, except that Outlook has some additional features (Outlook was a later addition to the suite and wasn't too well baked in Office 2000). I am not a "Microsoft hater". In this business I know a lot of people who passionately, with a religious intensity, hate Microsoft. Microsoft clobbered a lot of competitors out of business (or at the margins) such as Quattro Pro and Lotus 1-2-3 (killed by Excel), Word Perfect (killed by Word), Harvard Graphics (killed by Power Point) and myriad smaller databases like D-Base (killed by Access). Their free browser hit Netscape hard and it seemed like Microsoft was about to take over Intuit and with Great Plains (business ERP) about everything else in sight...

But Microsoft hasn't innovated anything significant for years. eBay came out with online auctions and Microsoft isn't even in that space. Google revolutionized search. Yahoo has a lot of important innovations and free email and a portal with tons of hits. Plus the open source movements with Linux and Apache (powering web servers) and myriad other tools are proving to deliver robust and capable software, while Microsoft remains crippled by viruses and delayed products (the successor to Office XP, Longhorn, keeps getting pushed back).

Microsoft is obviously thriving financially and makes more money than pretty much everyone else put together. However, they are NOT innovators, and it enrages me that they are hitting people up as dinosaurs for not upgrading a product that doesn't need to be upgraded because the new version doesn't have any compelling features. Sorry for the Dennis Miller type rant, but I literally walk past 20 of these advertisements a day and it is driving me NUTS! Posted by Hello

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