An Ode and an Apology to Microsoft

Success comes at a price, and that’s often true with popularity. While there are many giants in the tech industry, it seems that often the most successful companies are the ones that get the least support from the media and the general public and that start to get the slated for everything they do.

A typical example of this is McDonalds who are of course highly successful and just about one of the biggest brands in the world. Of course this success then lead to them being slated by all and sundry for the lack of nutrition in their food and for the high salt and fat content. So much so in fact were they unpopular that they have ended up having to make their doors thinner (to keep out obese customers) and offer a range of healthy options such as apple slices instead of chips. Sure it’s a good thing in a way, but is it really fair when you consider that companies like Burger King continue to offer the same unhealthy meals without repercussions? Or that the customers really only have themselves to blame for eating as much of the food as they do?

Poor Microsoft

One of the biggest victims of this success syndrome however is certainly Microsoft, who struggled hugely with various lawsuits and accusations of ‘market monopoly’ and who were for a while the butt of every joke due to software like Windows becoming known for crashing a lot. Microsoft was the undisputed king of the tech world for a good while, but with that territory came criticism and so it seemed that everyone was busy taking pot shots at them for at least a while.

And Yet…

And yet they were still highly popular and successful and they still continue to be highly popular and successful. And in fact I would argue that while Microsoft might have previously seemed a little in your face, companies like Apple have since demonstrated that they could have been a lot worse.

One of the accusations levelled at Microsoft for instance was that they weren’t open source and didn’t share their code with everyone. My answer to that though is: why should they? Particularly when companies like Apple are not only closed in terms of their source but in terms of the way they let you actually use the software as well: at least with Microsoft you are free to edit your files as you see fit and the file formats are locked.

In fact, Microsoft are in some ways VERY open and particularly when you consider that their early success came simply from the fact that they allowed all kinds of devices to run Windows – immediately giving users the ability to choose their hardware and at the same time enabling themselves to become ubiquitous. And if you didn’t like Windows or Microsoft Office you were always free to install alternatives.

At the same time Microsoft have always been good at what they do. Yes some of their software can crash a little, and IE has recently not been up to the competition, but otherwise Word remains by far the best word processor and Windows 7 is unquestionably a great operating system that has taken on board lessons from Apple (and complaints that Microsoft are copying are rather moot in light of the fact that they pretty much set the template for the whole OS X).

Then there’s the Xbox, which has been a huge hit and is a great console (which relies on a very open market for much of its popularity), the Kinect which was undoubtedly a great piece of technology and the Windows phone which is also a flashy piece of kit even if it has since to catch on.

In short then, I think it’s high time that Microsoft get some respect again and that we turned on Apple for a while…

Stephane Brault is a blogger with VPNHero and reviews best vpn service providers and softwares for the site, needless to say that Stephane think Microsoft is doing great because most of the software reviewed is still made for Windows OS. You can follow VPNHero on twitter.