Microsoft brand loyalty does not mean brand blindness

We all have reasons for sticking with our favorite brands, but ultimately, you have to choose the best tool for the task

Last week I reviewed the new features in Bing, and my post sparked some heated comments. It's not the first time I've been verbally assaulted for siding with Redmond on a product, but I have big shoulders, so I can handle it. (Anyone remember my pieces on Windows Vista? I didn't realize people in IT knew so many cuss words!)

But this week, one critique caught my attention. Chris Bridge wrote in with some of his complaints about Bing, and they're worth repeating:

Bing is not a better search engine for me. Bing was forced onto my machines without my consent, and it replaced applications I choose to use without my consent. These facts have nothing to do with my dislike of Microsoft as a corporation. Bing on its own is not worthy of respect simply because of the way it was delivered, the way it installed itself, and the difficulty of opting out. Bing is not worthy of respect because it does not perform better.

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I always appreciate it when readers take the time to explain why they feel a certain way. I'm often accused of being overly loyal to a brand (Microsoft), but it's easy to see when people are being just as loyal to their own (Apple, Google, VMware, and so forth). I'll admit this may affect my judgment.

However, I explained that in reading Bridge's reasons for not liking the product (Bing in this case, but it could easily have been any other product from Microsoft), I disagreed with him on his position with regard to the solution itself. I believe he is frustrated by how Bing was aggressively delivered without his consent, but instead of letting the disappointment overshadow his assessment, he needs to look more at the tool -- not the marketing or delivery method behind it. His reply: "I don't think you can separate the application from its delivery vector."

I imagine this is true for many people, and I believe Microsoft should really consider this point when pushing its products. Microsoft has been accused (rightly so) of bullying its way into people's lives when a gentler approach might endear folks. Ultimately, it's about the bottom line; perhaps the aggressive approach is considered more profitable, which explains why it's continued after so many years of complaints.

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