Posted 04 November 2012 - 18:29
... It's brand reputation.
Geeks, let alone normal consumers, will never part with their old habit of typing out "M$", and regardless of their current tone of advertisement, Apple has already set in our minds that Microsoft products are insecure and prone to viruses.
For the better part of the decade leading up to the release of Windows 7, Microsoft have steadily lost their brand respect, while Apple have been working on quite the opposite. The change was gradual, but a combination of buggy drivers, being the majority target of malicious software, and the association with business and work eventually lead to being labelled as simply "uncool" and "bad". Surely Microsoft did not intend for this to happen, and while it is certainly not entirely their fault, it definitely happened.
As positive to Microsoft as this forum tends to be, it is not reality - we are not the majority. We are knowledgeable enough to judge a product based on its performance and quality, rather than its brand. But given the fact that even a layperson tech enthusiast these days holds a negative opinion of Microsoft, it would seem that the damage is too fargone at this point. Perhaps I can elaborate on why.
Let's rewind to a decade long past, when the computer finally makes its jump from business, to home and recreation application. The start of the information age.
In a burgeoning market for personal computing, computers still require a small amount of knowledge to use. A basic understanding of what more RAM actually does, for instance. By relinquishing hardware decisions to the customer, Microsoft offered a degree of freedom to ice their new, intuitive GUI cake. The market of the mid-late 90's welcomed this freedom of choice, and they monopolised this tidal wave to ride it straight to the top.
Fast forward to the mid 2000's, and Microsoft have not only paved the road, but has driven computing right up to the doorstep of daily first-world life. It is no longer acceptable to lack internet access and a PC of your own. The PC is now no longer an opt-in for those with an enthusiasm for technology. The PC has become a necessity.
With computers now being force fed into the households of any who wishes to make it in today's world, the consumer no longer cares about performance, about versatility and modularity. The consumer merely wants her browser to work so she can check her email and Myspace. She doesn't have time to care about and understand why Sims is very choppy - she wouldn't be on a computer if it were still an enthusiast device, but now she can't imagine living without it. Unfortunately for her, there are not only performance problems and pesky Windows updates to contend to, but there are certain groups that take a mal-intented interest in the average, helpless user's PC.
Enter Apple. Now that personal computers have broken into the mindless majority market. With an "invulnerability" to viruses, a reputation for being bug-free, and a controlled hardware ecosystem, the new target market for personal computers welcomes them with open arms. Price is of no obstruction to them, because Apple tell them they are state of the art machines years beyond any buggy "PC". But most importantly, to the user, the machines "Just Work," and seldom malfunction.
As such, by the means of their own rise, Microsoft begin to decline. If Microsoft manage to soar with fifteen years of dead weight on their brand, it will certainly be the success of the decade. But I guess we'll see come the quarterly report.
So let's face it: Despite being technologically superior in nearly every way, the Surface will not make a sizeable dent in iPad's sales. Despite raving reviews, the consumer is still highly sceptical that it won't catch a virus and fall apart in their hands.
Windows Phone 7 was largely unattractive to the cell phone market in America due to "Windows" branding, and nobody ever cared to buy a Zune over the likes of an iPod.
Such is reputation.