Microsoft tells MVPs “we’re in it to win” — Really?

Look at my last post. Now read this one over on LiveSide. It’s a short report that Microsoft executives are bragging to MVPs that “we’re in it to win.”

I don’t think Microsoft is. The words are empty. Microsoft’s Internet execution sucks (on whole). Its search sucks. Its advertising sucks (look at that last post again). If that’s “in it to win” then I don’t get it. I saw a bunch of posts similar to the one on LiveSide coming out of the MVP Summit. I didn’t post any of them to my link blog for a reason: All were air, no real demonstrations of how Microsoft is going to lead.

Microsoft isn’t going away. Don’t get me wrong. They have record profits, record sales, all that. But on the Internet? Come on. This isn’t winning. Microsoft: stop the talk. Ship a better search, a better advertising system than Google, a better hosting service than Amazon, a better cross-platform Web development ecosystem than Adobe, and get some services out there that are innovative (where’s the video RSS reader? Blog search? Something like Yahoo’s Pipes? A real blog service? A way to look up people?) That’s how you win.

Oh, and Ballmer, if I ran Google your speech at Stanford yesterday would be plastered on every door on every campus Google has. Why? It’ll motivate Google employees the same way a coach will motivate an opposing team during the Superbowl by taking trash in the press. You’re up against a formidable competitor and one you’ve never seen before that has some real, significant weapons that you can’t deal with (and YouTube isn’t even close to it). Google’s secret weapon? It controls the entire stack in the datacenter. Google writes its own hard disk drivers. It has its datacenter hardware built to its spec. Ever wonder why Live.com is slower than Google? Hint: it’s cause Google is out executing Microsoft in the datacenter.

This isn’t Netscape you’re talking trash to, Steve. Have you really studied Google? It doesn’t sound like you have.

Again, Microsofties, you’d be better served not to talk trash until you have something YOU CAN SHIP!

I sure hope they don’t show up at Mix07 with this kind of “we’re in it to win” talk. The MVPs might be easy to talk into doing some cheerleading but the rest of us are over that now. We’re looking for signs of leadership and so far we don’t see it.

Sigh.

548 thoughts on “Microsoft tells MVPs “we’re in it to win” — Really?

  1. You may heed your own advice Scoble. I can recall many times you hyping Microsoft stuff before it was shipped. Including search. This post makes me wonder how much of your previous posts were marketing bulls**t and how much was real. and how much I can trust your opinion going forward…

  2. You may heed your own advice Scoble. I can recall many times you hyping Microsoft stuff before it was shipped. Including search. This post makes me wonder how much of your previous posts were marketing bulls**t and how much was real. and how much I can trust your opinion going forward…

  3. SOme more reason why Microsoft blows. MS has introduce a new technology to compete with Adobe Flash/Air called Silverlight 2.0/MFP. The only problem is, if you are a VB programmer, MS cares little about you jumping in at the onset of this technology for the sake of your livlihood. MS is only providing tutorials/webcasts/videos for C# programmers. This irratates me because it gives C# programmers an edge of VB in the marketplace. I have decided to quit MS and move over to Adobe and larn Action Script. I have long been fed up wit MS showing favortism to C# programmers and treating us VB programmers as bastard step-children.

  4. SOme more reason why Microsoft blows. MS has introduce a new technology to compete with Adobe Flash/Air called Silverlight 2.0/MFP. The only problem is, if you are a VB programmer, MS cares little about you jumping in at the onset of this technology for the sake of your livlihood. MS is only providing tutorials/webcasts/videos for C# programmers. This irratates me because it gives C# programmers an edge of VB in the marketplace. I have decided to quit MS and move over to Adobe and larn Action Script. I have long been fed up wit MS showing favortism to C# programmers and treating us VB programmers as bastard step-children.

  5. Google never ships a product everything is always “BETA”. Gmail has been in “BETA” for 2 years. At least the Microsoft guys take a shot at sending out real software.

    Microsoft has NEVER shipped software that wasn’t beta. Vista still isn’t in a state where it should have been RTM, and they’ve had three quarters of a year to patch it.

    Atleast Google is being honest about it.

  6. Google never ships a product everything is always “BETA”. Gmail has been in “BETA” for 2 years. At least the Microsoft guys take a shot at sending out real software.

    Microsoft has NEVER shipped software that wasn’t beta. Vista still isn’t in a state where it should have been RTM, and they’ve had three quarters of a year to patch it.

    Atleast Google is being honest about it.

  7. This guy just wants publicity. All bloggers at some point “Jump the Shark” this is joke. Google never ships a product everything is always “BETA”. Gmail has been in “BETA” for 2 years. At least the Microsoft guys take a shot at sending out real software. I am tired of this BS all software is the same, some sucks some don’t. If you don’t like it don’t buy it or use it.

  8. This guy just wants publicity. All bloggers at some point “Jump the Shark” this is joke. Google never ships a product everything is always “BETA”. Gmail has been in “BETA” for 2 years. At least the Microsoft guys take a shot at sending out real software. I am tired of this BS all software is the same, some sucks some don’t. If you don’t like it don’t buy it or use it.

  9. As an ex-microsoftie all I can say is sing it brother and sing it loud.

    What’d I do after Microsoft? A web 2.0 video RSS system. Could I have done something this cool at MS? Never, and that’s the shame. MS has good people and ideas but no ability to execute other than in the staid biz app world it first found success in.

  10. As an ex-microsoftie all I can say is sing it brother and sing it loud.

    What’d I do after Microsoft? A web 2.0 video RSS system. Could I have done something this cool at MS? Never, and that’s the shame. MS has good people and ideas but no ability to execute other than in the staid biz app world it first found success in.

  11. @268 “Why is it so hard to just spend the money on building something EXCELLENT? Then maybe it could sell ITSELF. Sigh.”

    While it’s certainly easy to apply that to Microsoft and you would be right, it doesn’t work that way in anything. If things worked that way there would be no need for ANY company to have a marketing department. Excellent products don’t always end up being the best sellers. Is a Toyota Camry the best car? Is McDonald’s the best hamburger? Is WalMart the best department store?

    Not only do you have to build a good product, you have to figure out how to sell it (even if you selling model means strong arming OEM’s). Rail against Microsoft all you want..they certainly have it coming…but you can’t deny the fact they know how to market.

  12. @268 “Why is it so hard to just spend the money on building something EXCELLENT? Then maybe it could sell ITSELF. Sigh.”

    While it’s certainly easy to apply that to Microsoft and you would be right, it doesn’t work that way in anything. If things worked that way there would be no need for ANY company to have a marketing department. Excellent products don’t always end up being the best sellers. Is a Toyota Camry the best car? Is McDonald’s the best hamburger? Is WalMart the best department store?

    Not only do you have to build a good product, you have to figure out how to sell it (even if you selling model means strong arming OEM’s). Rail against Microsoft all you want..they certainly have it coming…but you can’t deny the fact they know how to market.

  13. Robert,

    Do you seriously link *popularity* directly to *credibility*? They are two very distinct things, and as you point out in almost each of your blog posts, you might be the former.

    I used to read your blog when you started blogging, many years ago, and there were some interesting points. However, I unsubscribed about two / three years ago, I don’t even recall exactly when, (long before you left Microsoft) because I just didn’t find your popular opinion valuable (to me, personally) anymore.

    MVP’s are mostly technical guys & gals, and MVP status is *completely* linked to community activity, and renewable annually. (You should know that!) Because of the nature of MVP’s, I think you might find that far less MVP’s are interested in your ramblings than you like to believe.

  14. Robert,

    Do you seriously link *popularity* directly to *credibility*? They are two very distinct things, and as you point out in almost each of your blog posts, you might be the former.

    I used to read your blog when you started blogging, many years ago, and there were some interesting points. However, I unsubscribed about two / three years ago, I don’t even recall exactly when, (long before you left Microsoft) because I just didn’t find your popular opinion valuable (to me, personally) anymore.

    MVP’s are mostly technical guys & gals, and MVP status is *completely* linked to community activity, and renewable annually. (You should know that!) Because of the nature of MVP’s, I think you might find that far less MVP’s are interested in your ramblings than you like to believe.

  15. “Why is it so hard to just spend the money on building something EXCELLENT?”

    Well, that’s the real trick, isn’t it? (As H. Solo once said.) It’s hard because, well, it’s hard, but it’s made even harder if the corporate culture can’t tell the difference between actual systemic thinking and sales thinking.

    Marketing/Sales people are defined by their ability to answer a single question: “On a level playing field, with no difference between brands of soap, how can I make consumers prefer mine?”

    Even the actual characteristics of the product — its features, strengths, weaknesses, capabilities, drawbacks, are considered a sub-set of its saleability quotient. Marcus Aurelius said to ask of each thing, what is its nature; what is its purpose. Sales people do not think this way. They ask of each thing, how can I persuade somebody (or force somebody, or bribe somebody) into buying this?

    You can sell soap this way, or perfume, or music, or even cars. But you can’t do it with software because software is the most abstract product there is, and the true “nature and purpose” of the tool reveals itself too easily.

    Balmer probably thinks that Google and Live Search are the same. He thinks he’s getting screwed by somebody else’s better marketing; this is how a soap manufacturer thinks. You can hear it in their whining about Apple: it’s all “marketing,” as if people choose iPod over Zune as frivolously as they choose Tide over Bold.

    Back in the 1970s and 1980s, this kind of thinking was (obviously) effective for Microsoft because nobody knew any better. DOS? PS/2? Who cares? I just want my spreadsheet! But times have changed, and today’s customers won’t fall for this “Wow starts now” crap.

  16. “Why is it so hard to just spend the money on building something EXCELLENT?”

    Well, that’s the real trick, isn’t it? (As H. Solo once said.) It’s hard because, well, it’s hard, but it’s made even harder if the corporate culture can’t tell the difference between actual systemic thinking and sales thinking.

    Marketing/Sales people are defined by their ability to answer a single question: “On a level playing field, with no difference between brands of soap, how can I make consumers prefer mine?”

    Even the actual characteristics of the product — its features, strengths, weaknesses, capabilities, drawbacks, are considered a sub-set of its saleability quotient. Marcus Aurelius said to ask of each thing, what is its nature; what is its purpose. Sales people do not think this way. They ask of each thing, how can I persuade somebody (or force somebody, or bribe somebody) into buying this?

    You can sell soap this way, or perfume, or music, or even cars. But you can’t do it with software because software is the most abstract product there is, and the true “nature and purpose” of the tool reveals itself too easily.

    Balmer probably thinks that Google and Live Search are the same. He thinks he’s getting screwed by somebody else’s better marketing; this is how a soap manufacturer thinks. You can hear it in their whining about Apple: it’s all “marketing,” as if people choose iPod over Zune as frivolously as they choose Tide over Bold.

    Back in the 1970s and 1980s, this kind of thinking was (obviously) effective for Microsoft because nobody knew any better. DOS? PS/2? Who cares? I just want my spreadsheet! But times have changed, and today’s customers won’t fall for this “Wow starts now” crap.

  17. I certainly hope Google is going to move ahead of Microsoft in the long run. If it’s not the technology advance everybody is touting – I am betting on people skills.

    Just recently Google has been named the best place to work in America – out of thousands others. Where is Microsoft there? What is the ratio between disgruntled Microsoft employees and Google employees? In the end – either you like it or not – is the people who make or break it.

    Google has a better staff retention coeficient than Microsoft and I hope they will continue having it.

    It will take some time but Google will become what Microsoft was a while back – the “go to” company – the one any bright person wants to work for.

    Then Microsoft will face the dinosaur’s fate – crushed by its own weight.

  18. I certainly hope Google is going to move ahead of Microsoft in the long run. If it’s not the technology advance everybody is touting – I am betting on people skills.

    Just recently Google has been named the best place to work in America – out of thousands others. Where is Microsoft there? What is the ratio between disgruntled Microsoft employees and Google employees? In the end – either you like it or not – is the people who make or break it.

    Google has a better staff retention coeficient than Microsoft and I hope they will continue having it.

    It will take some time but Google will become what Microsoft was a while back – the “go to” company – the one any bright person wants to work for.

    Then Microsoft will face the dinosaur’s fate – crushed by its own weight.

  19. Arguments do not make people use products, or buy them.
    But personal conviction does.

    Personally, I don’t see anything replacing Microsoft Office, warts and all- on my desktop/ laptop for at least a couple of years, including free for download software and free hosted services.

    Jay, from Bangalore
    http://ideaburger.blogspot.com

  20. Arguments do not make people use products, or buy them.
    But personal conviction does.

    Personally, I don’t see anything replacing Microsoft Office, warts and all- on my desktop/ laptop for at least a couple of years, including free for download software and free hosted services.

    Jay, from Bangalore
    http://ideaburger.blogspot.com

  21. So refreshing to hear you say this. A Microsoft contractor, working at an ivy league institution, was pimping the “Live” search krap to the rest of us in the room, and even though MS products usually make me barf I thought I’d at least give it a try. I typed in five addresses. It basically was 1 for 5. Two of the others it couldn’t even find, which were basically normal addresses. I was appalled, then realized how typical that was, compared to Google earth, which of course rocks. When I mentioned how kraptastic it was, he said MS’s plan was to outspend Google on it so everyone would use it. Which brought me right back to my usual posture re: MS, of wanting to hurl. Just like Word Perfect. Don’t bother to BUILD the better product, just try to crush the competition through a business strategy instead. And then to boast about how great krap is? Seriously appalling. Why is it so hard to just spend the money on building something EXCELLENT? Then maybe it could sell ITSELF. Sigh.

  22. So refreshing to hear you say this. A Microsoft contractor, working at an ivy league institution, was pimping the “Live” search krap to the rest of us in the room, and even though MS products usually make me barf I thought I’d at least give it a try. I typed in five addresses. It basically was 1 for 5. Two of the others it couldn’t even find, which were basically normal addresses. I was appalled, then realized how typical that was, compared to Google earth, which of course rocks. When I mentioned how kraptastic it was, he said MS’s plan was to outspend Google on it so everyone would use it. Which brought me right back to my usual posture re: MS, of wanting to hurl. Just like Word Perfect. Don’t bother to BUILD the better product, just try to crush the competition through a business strategy instead. And then to boast about how great krap is? Seriously appalling. Why is it so hard to just spend the money on building something EXCELLENT? Then maybe it could sell ITSELF. Sigh.

  23. First, a qualification. I am an MVP and I was at the Summit, though not at any of the Live presentations, so I can’t vouch for any of the remarks made there.

    But I do question why anybody considers that Microsoft’s statement that they are “in it to win” is any kind of new information, or anything that anyone would get upset over. Microsoft is always in everything it does “to win.” So is Apple, Google, Yahoo, Nike, Coca Cola and the lady that runs the souvenier shop down by the beach. Every business is. And the primary goal of every publicly owned company is to maximize return to the shareholders. Microsoft has been good at that over the years, as have most of the other companies at various periods of time.

    Microsoft has rarely gotten the definitive product out the door on the first try. Or often even the second, third or later tries. But they also rarely abandon products. They keep pushing and improving and gaining ground until they have won. And then they keep pushing some more. There’s nothing new here, nor anything new in their assertion that they will win, no matter what the category the remark is made about.

    And Scoble is correct. Microsoft does not have a winning product in Internet Search. Nor have they ever. But they haven’t given up working on it. And they have the money and the power to keep working on it, even if it stays in third place for several more years.

    For what it’s worth, the MVP’s aren’t an easy bunch to “talk into doing some cheerleading” and Scoble knows that. They’ve been bitching about Microsoft’s Search for a decade…

  24. First, a qualification. I am an MVP and I was at the Summit, though not at any of the Live presentations, so I can’t vouch for any of the remarks made there.

    But I do question why anybody considers that Microsoft’s statement that they are “in it to win” is any kind of new information, or anything that anyone would get upset over. Microsoft is always in everything it does “to win.” So is Apple, Google, Yahoo, Nike, Coca Cola and the lady that runs the souvenier shop down by the beach. Every business is. And the primary goal of every publicly owned company is to maximize return to the shareholders. Microsoft has been good at that over the years, as have most of the other companies at various periods of time.

    Microsoft has rarely gotten the definitive product out the door on the first try. Or often even the second, third or later tries. But they also rarely abandon products. They keep pushing and improving and gaining ground until they have won. And then they keep pushing some more. There’s nothing new here, nor anything new in their assertion that they will win, no matter what the category the remark is made about.

    And Scoble is correct. Microsoft does not have a winning product in Internet Search. Nor have they ever. But they haven’t given up working on it. And they have the money and the power to keep working on it, even if it stays in third place for several more years.

    For what it’s worth, the MVP’s aren’t an easy bunch to “talk into doing some cheerleading” and Scoble knows that. They’ve been bitching about Microsoft’s Search for a decade…

  25. The only reason people enjoy video games on PCs is that using PCs makes them so crazed with hatred, rage and genocidal fervor that they can only express it by chasing mutants through mazes and hatcheting them to death.

    People who use Macs putter away doing their stuff.

    People who use PCs curse at the computers all day, screaming themselves hoarse at the blue screens, aborts, random freezes, spontaneous reboots and non-stop screw ups. By lunchtime, they just want to pull out someone’s arm and beat them to death with the wet end.

    That’s where the video game industry game from. Next week, I’ll explain house paint industry.

    Zeke

  26. The only reason people enjoy video games on PCs is that using PCs makes them so crazed with hatred, rage and genocidal fervor that they can only express it by chasing mutants through mazes and hatcheting them to death.

    People who use Macs putter away doing their stuff.

    People who use PCs curse at the computers all day, screaming themselves hoarse at the blue screens, aborts, random freezes, spontaneous reboots and non-stop screw ups. By lunchtime, they just want to pull out someone’s arm and beat them to death with the wet end.

    That’s where the video game industry game from. Next week, I’ll explain house paint industry.

    Zeke

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