The Macalope Daily: Meet the new hotness

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There is an equilibrium to things. For every Apple nay-sayer who moves on (George Ou), grows out of it (Adrian Kingsley-Hughes) or just gives up (Katherine Noyes), another one steps in to take their place.

Such seems to be the case with the Atlantic Wire’s Rebecca Greenfield. Fresh off of telling us that Apple is done innovating, Rebecca believes that “Suddenly Microsoft is the Hippest Tech Company Around” (tip o’ the antlers to Ben Brooks).

Well, this is really a matter of opinion but allow the Macalope to just quietly roll his eyes at this.

And again.

One more time.

OK. Sorry. Please present your evidence that the company that brought us the Windows 7 Launch Party and hip product names like Windows Phone 7 is the new hotness.

While Apple and Google are busy getting bad press for their privacy issues, labor practices and general big-evil-company wrongdoings, Microsoft has done some brand regeneration, making it look like the hippest tech company on the block these days.

Right. Certainly Microsoft has no problems of its own.

We noticed this new-found hipness when we came across the endearing Browser You Love(d) to Hate campaign. With some admirable self-awareness, Microsoft used its own bad reputation to argue that its hated Internet Explorer browser is on the verge of a comeback.

To be fair, there is something to this. It is a funny campaign and the Macalope gives Microsoft some credit for trying to do something different with Windows Phone 7 and Windows 8. But the former is still struggling to catch on and the latter is big wildcard that raises as many problems for users as it solves for Microsoft. While Microsoft might be trying to gain some cool, there’s little evidence it’s catching on.

(We still prefer Chrome, by the way.)

So, Internet Explorer is hip and cool but not so hip and cool as to be useful. Now that the Macalope might be willing to believe.

But this image comeback isn’t limited to IE. Over the last few days we’ve seen Hotmail ads running on Boing Boing and Jezebel, two blogs that are hip for different reasons.

Does Greenfield not know that running ads does not make a “comeback”?

Windows 8 surprised and excited the tech blogger world, something a Windows browser [sic] hasn’t done since Windows 95.

That’s at least partly true, however the Macalope will point out two things. First, Windows 8 also has a fair number of detractors (tip o’ the antlers to the Loop). And second, and the Macalope can’t stress this enough, Microsoft has yet to ship Windows 8. All the good reviews in the world mean squat if it’s not successful.

Apple, of course, is uncool according to Greenfield. Despite actually selling things that people like.

Apple’s (maybe) new logo, on the other hand, with its rainbow mish-mash, feels dated.

Reasonable people may disagree (looks pretty cool to the Macalope) but let’s rush over to Apple’s site and, yep, that logo is nowhere to be found. Next?

Appl [sic] still produces insane-popular gadgets, but no longer wows reviewers like it once did.

Really? Which reviewers? Greenfield doesn’t provide any links, she just states it as given. There is a set of reviewers who will never like anything Apple ships. There is also a tendency by other reviewers to nitpick Apple products in an attempt to find a false “balance” with other crappier products. Ultimately, though, whatever the reviews, consumers still love Apple products.

Though the Foxconn protesters that threatened mass suicide back in January made Microsoft’s XBox, thanks to Mike Daisey and Apple’s financial successes, Apple not Microsoft absorbed most of the bad PR.

So, wait. Your “cool, hip” company was actually the one that should have been tied to the incident but because of an inveterate liar it was Apple so Microsoft is cooler than Apple. That’s your argument? You’re really going with that?

Google and Apple’s misdeeds have overshadowed the once dominant tech company, and while the other big players make public messes out of themselves, Microsoft looks to be cleaning up its image. And, we have to say, it looks good.

Sure! If you close your eyes to inconvenient facts! Like, say…

“Microsoft accused of rigging ‘Smoked by Windows Phone’ tests”

Oh, man, rigging contests designed to show how cool your products are is so cool.

[Editors’ Note: In addition to being a mythical beast, the Macalope is not an employee of Macworld. As a result, the Macalope is always free to criticize any media organization. Even ours.]

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