I was just browsing Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's most popular daily newspaper (have to keep the native language up, you see), when I read that the new Apple ads were being featured on an official Microsoft blog.
Clicking on the link, I discovered that this was not the case. The blog was that of Joseph Tartakoff, a staff reporter at one of Seattle's newspapers, the delightfully-named Post-Intelligencer.
However, once I was there, I got sucked into the comments left on the post, which was, indeed, about the latest Apple ads that continue to insert humorous needles into the Microsoft doll.
One poster wrote: "I've been an MS employee for a long time, and I knew we were toast the first time I laid hands on a Vista based machine. When I replaced my personal laptop this summer, sorry to say, I went with a MacBook. As far as operating systems go, Apple has us beat hands down on stability, security, and user interface. OS X+ isn't perfect by any stretch, but in 5 months of use on two machines, I've had it freeze up on me exactly once."
Now I know you might get wrapped up in the technical bits of his comment. And, given that it's all IT Department-speak to me, I will agree with everything you say.
However, my first question on reading these words was: "This is really a Microsoft employee?" So I kept reading.
"We have as employees thousands of the smartest people I've ever known," continued the poster. "I know in my heart that we're perfectly capable of putting out great products, when they're well planned, well executed, and properly tested (from watching the process from inside the Empire, Vista was none of these; sorry, Windows team). But we need to be producing OUTSTANDING products and change our image in the eyes of the end users or we will continue to lose market share."
It is sad that we can't persuade the Post-Intelligencer to find this intelligent poster and sweet-talk him into a little polygraph. (I'm guessing these things work well, judging by the story of the young woman who smeared the letter 'B' the wrong way on her face in Pennsylvania.)
But if I was inclined to place a wager, I'd place it on this being a genuine, impassioned Microsoft employee. One who has bought himself a MacBook.
Please listen to his conclusion: "Guys, we deserve what we get when we put out products like Vista. For those who argue we're being slandered, take a hard look at what our customers are saying; there's a solid core of truth in all of it. Apple's merely taking market perception and using it against us in time honored marketing fashion--it's not like we don't do the same. We need to stop giving them ammunition and focus on getting our products right the first time."
Which leaves me to wonder a couple of things. And they may not be the same as your wonderings.
I wonder what this poster actually does at Microsoft. And I wonder how reflective of Microsoft employees in general, and their feelings in particular, he is.
And I wonder how many companies are fortunate enough to employ people who care about their product as much as he seems to.