Another good article by John Gruber: this time he compares Apple’s current situation with Microsoft’s ongoing crisis of confidence. A few months back I wrote a piece for PC Plus about Microsoft, and concluded that Microsoft’s biggest enemy wasn’t Apple, Google or Linux; Microsoft’s biggest enemy, I reckoned, was Microsoft itself. It seems Gruber is thinking along the same lines:
In the â€™90s, to sell copies of Word, they needed to beat WordPerfect, and they did; to sell Excel, they needed to beat Lotus 1-2-3. Now, though, to sell new copies of Microsoft Office, they need to beat older copies of Microsoft Office. Hence the much-maligned ads in which Microsoft casts their own users as dinosaurs simply because they havenâ€™t upgraded to the latest version of Office.
Most of the criticism of these ads revolves around the fact that itâ€™s a bad idea to insult your own customers. But what I found interesting about them is the tacit acknowledgment that Microsoftâ€™s strongest competitor in todayâ€™s office software market isnâ€™t OpenOffice, or any other competing suite from another company, but rather the Microsoft of a decade ago.
The article also makes some good points about the new MacBooks, so it’s worth a read even if you’re a committed Microsoft-phobe.