First let me say I am a developer in both Microsoft Technology (C#, C++, .Net) and Apple Technology (Objective-C, COCOA.) Based on that I am very interested in both companies succeeding.
I always hear people say "Microsoft just doesn't get 'It'." And in my opinion they are right... but most people can't answer what "It" is. After watching the Windows 8 press conference this morning, I wanted to just give a few examples and opinions about what "It" is... as least for me.
Steven Sinofsky, who heads up the Windows Division, said "Windows 8 is computing for the next billion people." This was an obvious attempt to get across a feeling of re-invention and progress. I thought of myself as being part of the first billion since I am one of the first computer users and software engineers. I am also one of the few people (relatively speaking) that ran a BBS in this country and eventually connected that BBS to the internet. I thought of my kids as being in that next billion. Since I am in the first billion, he basically just told me Windows 8 isn't for me. No problem. No hard feelings. You have to pick your market and go after it. Clearly Microsoft made this for my kids since they are in the second billion, right? Unfortunately (for Microsoft) my kids want Macs instead of Windows 8. Maybe Microsoft should have made it for the first billion after all?
While watching Steve Ballmer bop around on stage, I was reading the CNet live-blog and noticed that some hardware was being passed around. It was described as a Samsung Windows Tablet that had been running Windows 8 over the past year. It was also described as having a fan large enough to power a hovercraft.
Julie Larson-Green then came out on stage to demo an RT tablet. I was amazed that in order to show what she was doing to the crowd on the large presentation screen, a cameraman with a giant camera was standing over her shoulder the entire time. This is 2012, right?
She went on to say "These are the best PCs that have ever been made." How about a unique non-obvious statement? I hope they didn't deliberately buck evolution to put out a crappier PC. Yes, I have heard Apple say this before as well, and in fact I'm fairly sure Apple just said it 2 days ago... possibly a unique if not less obvious message?
This brings me to my last point. The Microsoft presenters kept repeating "best PCs ever" and "magical" over and over. I think they really believe Apple's appeal is wordsmithing. Using naming and identifications to create cute buzzwords like "charms" just sounds cheap and silly to me. Commercials based on clicking being cool just rubs me the wrong way too.
The Surface Tablet presentation is in about 45 minutes... and I'm looking forward to seeing exactly how you tell the Windows RT tablet, which doesn't run any current Windows 7 applications, apart from the Standard tablet that will run those applications. So far telling the difference is difficult to understand and for Microsoft to convey. I predict this will annoy consumers at the least.