A lot’s been going on with Microsoft in the last month, so it’s high time the Macalope sat down for another chat with his Redmond counterpart, the Winotaur.
WINOTAUR: So, what?
MACALOPE: How’s it goin’?
WINOTAUR: It’s goin’ great is how it’s goin’.
WINOTAUR: Of course! Never better! We shipped Windows 8, we shipped the Surface, we got rid of a troublemaker …
MACALOPE: The guy who was responsible for Windows 8, your supposed “no compromises” solution to mobile computing …
WINOTAUR: Well … yes, but … Hey, you guys got rid of your troublemaker!
MACALOPE: True. Not at the same critical juncture, of course. Seems a little odd to be letting Sinofsky go and then having Big Sweaty come out and say Surface sales are “modest.”
WINOTAUR: Hey! That was in relation to the company’s approach in ramping up supply and distribution of Surface with Windows RT, which …
MACALOPE: OK, spare me the butt-covering press release. Look, even the Macalope isn’t ready to say Microsoft has failed. Yet. At least your team is trying to disrupt some businesses. And your partners aren’t particularly happy about it.
WINOTAUR: Ugh, those guys. So needy. Don’t get me started.
MACALOPE: Needy and angry. And not really willing to do you any favors, either. Did you see what Todd Bradley said?
WINOTAUR: Todd Bradley? Doesn’t ring a bell.
MACALOPE: Works at HP.
WINOTAUR: Drawing a complete blank.
MACALOPE: Runs its PC business.
WINOTAUR: Not familiar with his work.
MACALOPE: Sure, you’re not. Anyway, ol’ Todd said the Surface “tends to be slow and a little kludgey.” That’s gotta sting, right? Particularly since … you know … the Surface is slow and a little kludgey.
WINOTAUR: Right. I’m supposed to be concerned about the comments from someone at HP. Because they’re such business geniuses over there.
MACALOPE: Hmm, good point. But the thing that troubles the Macalope is …
MACALOPE: Uh, no. He’s got those little birds that hang out on his shoulders and … look, let’s try to stay on topic here.
WINOTAUR: Sure thing, fleabag.
MACALOPE: [sigh] The thing that troubles the Macalope is that, while you seem happy to disrupt other companies’ businesses, there’s no evidence you’re ready to disrupt your own business. Fire up a Surface and there’s the desktop again. You’re still carrying this angry monkey on your back.
WINOTAUR: Oh, what, we’re just supposed to just jettison all these users?
MACALOPE: You might find you’re jettisoning users anyway, by shipping a confusing product.
WINOTAUR: Well, then what were we supposed to do, since you’re so smart?
MACALOPE: Any primitive tribe will tell you that sometimes you’ve got to leave your elderly in a field with some sticks piled around them and keep moving. When Steve Jobs came back to Apple, he said he was going to milk the Mac business until he figured out the next great thing. That rubbed a lot of the company’s traditional customers the wrong way, but he did it and it worked. Don’t let the past hold you down.
WINOTAUR: Look, this is just version one! Wait until version two! We’ll have all the kinks worked out. Totally. Watch this space. Coming soon. Don’t change this channel.
MACALOPE: So, your pitch to customers, after the iPad’s been on the market for two and a half years, is still “Please, oh, please, just don’t buy iPads, we promise next time will be different.”?
WINOTAUR: Um … something like that.
MACALOPE: Your parents must be so proud.