Thursday, February 8

"You are coming to a sad realisation, cancel or allow?"

Until today I've maintained my silence on Apple's 'Mac and PC' TV ad campaigns, figuring anyone who reads my blog is capable of finding them on their own. They've been making me chuckle all along, and while I doubt they do much to convert existing Windows users, as an Apple customer they've reinforced my decision to go Mac and reminded me of why I should think twice about ever going back to Windows.

The latest series, highlighting the challenges of upgrading a PC to Vista, are just as funny, but my vote for the best-ever so far is the ad titled 'Security', featuring an annoying bodyguard representing Vista's security features. It's certainly a realistic portrayal of Microsoft's style of security - keep peppering the user with jargon-laden decision points they don't understand the cause or ramifications of, until the user is driven to switch off security altogether.

Microsoft's problem with security, Vista, Windows and software in general is that it really doesn't understand regular people. By 'regular' I mean people who don't work in IT or have technology as a hobby; people who lack the jargon vocabulary and the commitment to figure out what Microsoft's software is trying to tell them.Microsoft's Redmond campus is a giant technology black hole that attracts like-minded technologists who design and build software primarily for themselves and people like them. If you're not a geek when you start at Microsoft, the culture will eventually get to you.

A good friend of mine working for the company says, in his experience, that Microsoft is great at producing large, hugely complex, challenging software products that take many years to architect and require massive and lengthy licensing fees to recoup on. But when it comes to understanding regular, ordinary people, Microsoft just doesn't get it. Certainly history suggests that Microsoft products typically have a large footprint, a lot of features, and they cost a lot (unless they're free, when Microsoft wants to collapse a market it wants to dominate in.)

Anyway, watch the ad (requires QuickTime). The last line is priceless; "You are coming to a sad realisation: cancel or allow?"

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